Market sentiment less certain as investors engage in profit taking


SENTIMENT was a little less certain yesterday as investors took the opportunity to embark on some profit taking. This led to a decline in some of the leading stocks.

AIB, which has been in favour for the last week after announcing the largest ever Irish acquisition, lost some ground. This was partly as a result of the general downward trend and may also reflect a realisation that AIB is paying a high price and will have to work hard to squeeze benefits from the deal.

One dealer contrasted the deal with the slow and deliberate approach AIB made toward First Maryland Bancorp (FMB) picking it up in stages rather than in one sweep. That deal always looked attractive.

AIB first gained 1p to 418p but then it fell to 415p and finished at 412p. Bank of Ireland was also caught up in the trend, falling 3p to 567p.

Going against the trend, Fyffes moved ahead 2p to 117p following the results which showed a 15 per cent rise in pretax profit to £48.5 million and dividends up by 10 per cent. How ever, stripping out acquisition profits, the underlying position was not that strong, with a slight contraction in profits.

Nevertheless, dealers noted that there were plenty of signals that underlying profits would be down because of weaker prices. Dealers are now looking for better prices which should provide some real growth.

Arnotts slipped 3p to 375p while CRH ended up unchanged at 630p but at one stage it was showing a 4p gain on the day.

Fishers does not see many dealings. Is it hiding itself? Well, yesterday it showed its head for the first time since last October it was a worthwhile move as it moved up 3p to 14p.

IAWS was also a positive mood and rose 3p to 178p, as was Greencore which put on 3p to 378p and Jones increased by 10p to 160p.

Independent was quite weak, falling 10p to 310p. Kerry dropped 5p to 645p.

McInerney, last but certainly not least, galloped ahead yet again, reaching 70p, a 5p gain.