Market resists bearish sentiment to close marginally higher on the day


THE BSE scare may be weighing heavily on the London market but the Irish market managed to resist the bearish tone to close up fractionally on the day.

Sentiment, however, is poor and any sustained weakness in Britain in the wake of the BSE crisis will undoubtedly hit the Irish market. Food shares may have been unchanged yesterday but, as one broker put it: "If anyone comes in offering a quarter of a million shares for any of the dairy stocks, they'll take a dive."

The leaders were largely unchanged, with AIB closing on its overnight level of 316p, although Bank of Ireland managed a 1p gain to 415p. CRH was unchanged on 550p, while Smurfit gained, 1 1/2p to 151p despite some bearish comment from Paine Webber on the US packaging sector's forthcoming first-quarter reporting season.

Non-dairy food stocks were firm with Greencore recovering from early weakness - a low of 307p - to close unchanged on 312p, while Fyffes remained well bid on 115p. IAWS did not trade after its half-year results but was well-supported on its 142p.

Likewise, Golden Vale was unchanged on 76p after full-year results in line with forecasts.

The heaviest volume was probably in exploration minnow Bula in the wake of its Siberian oil development and the shares dealt up 7/8p to 3 1/4p in heavy trading - over 20 million shares alone traded in London.

Aminex dealt down 7p to 48p while Tullow continued to trade busily and closed down 1p on 74p.

Tribune dealt down 2p to 3p after a small deal.

A drop in the share price of Kerry Group in yesterday's market report was wrongly attributed to a decision by Quinnsworth to take Denny products from its shelves because they include British beef. In fact, Quinnsworth have not removed any Denny product as no Denny product on sale in its stores contains British beef.