Market Report

 

Settlement Date: December 31st: On the last trading day before Christmas, activity in Dublin was, not surprisingly, light.

The ISEQ index finished the session down 9.92 points or a quarter point, as most stocks marked time and institutions concentrated on tidying up portfolios.

"People are wary of trading more than necessary around this time because small deals can affect a company's price disproportionately," said one dealer.

AIB rose nine cents on the strength of a broker upgrade from Merrill Lynch but volume was still only around half a million shares in Dublin with a further 400,000 dealing in London.

"That shows you how quiet it was. Normally, if the biggest broker in the world issues an upgrade on an Irish stock, you would see a major price move and large volume, but this is Christmas and with the threat of war with Iraq in the air, no-one is doing anything dramatic," said one trader.

AIB aside, only Irish Life & Permanent, which rose one cent to €10.31, gained ground as the financials continued to find themselves under pressure. Bank of Ireland slipped 12 cents to €9.60 while Anglo Irish and First Active were both down marginally following the surge in their prices on Friday on the back of their inclusion in the Stoxx600 index. First Active was three cents weaker at €5.57 and Anglo Irish 10 cents off at €6.75.

Outside the financials, it was very quiet. CRH fell 15 cents in to €12 while management buyout target Riverdeep was down five cents to €1.20.

IWP closed the day down just one cent at 37 cents after news that chief executive Mr Joe Moran had bought one million shares in the group.