Dublin bucks trend as world markets rise

Shares in Smurfit Kappa fall despite ‘positive’ note on paper and packaging pricing in Europe

Shopping trolleys at a Sainsbury’s supermarket at Pulborough, southern England, this month. J Sainsbury reported its “best Christmas ever” this year

Shopping trolleys at a Sainsbury’s supermarket at Pulborough, southern England, this month. J Sainsbury reported its “best Christmas ever” this year


Markets fought back in the wake of steep falls on Wall Street overnight as positive updates on UK inflation and better-than-expected euro zone industrial production data helped lift traders’ moods after a glum start.

The FTSE 100 index was initially in the red after New York stocks plunged following comments by a leading US central banker backing further tapering of quantitative easing despite disappointing jobs data at the end of last week. However by the close the FTSE was ahead, in line with other global indexes.

A rally that saw the Iseq climb by well over 100 points in a little over a week came to an end yesterday morning as investors pocketed gains amid worries about corporate earnings. The Iseq index was down 8.72 points to 4,783.04.

Shares in Smurfit Kappa fell 18 cent to €18.01. This was despite a note by Goodbody that it was “positive” on the pricing backdrop for paper and packaging in Europe.

Smurfit Kappa remains our favoured pick given its unjustified valuation discount and strong earnings,” the broker said.

Shares in Dragon Oil fell 3 cent to €6.84 after it said it was on course to meet its target of 100,000 barrels of oil per day. It said it grew cash reserves to $1.9 billion in 2013.

Market minnows, recruitment firm CPL Resources fell 2.58 per cent to €7.50, while Datalex, an airline software firm, was ahead 5 cent at €1.20.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 share index closed up 9.7 points at 6766.9 in the wake of official figures showing UK inflation had fallen to the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target for the first time in more than four years. It bolstered the chances of a prolonged period of low interest rates, firming up the appetite for equities.

Among stocks in London, broker upgrades helped blue chips BSkyB and financial services group Hargreaves Lansdown make gains and limit falls on the wider market.

BSkyB led the risers with an improvement of nearly 4 per cent or 31.5p to 871p after broker UBS placed a buy rating on the communications business.

Bristol-based Hargreaves climbed 23p to 1508p as Morgan Stanley said the firm was in a sweet spot for growth.

Supermarkets were in focus after Christmas data from Kantar Worldpanel confirmed the winners and losers. Sainsbury’s lifted nearly 3 per cent or 9.3p to 360.5p after the figures showed it held market share at 17.1 per cent in the 12 weeks to January 5th against falls among its big four rivals. Morrisons fell 1.5p to 249.8p.

Volkswagen decreased 2.4 per cent to €197.80 as UBS lowered its rating on Europe’s largest carmaker to sell from neutral. The brokerage said the company’s high level of reinvestment may cut into earnings growth.

Aeroports de Paris retreated 1.4 per cent to €81.64, while Fraport declined 0.8 per cent to €54.66 after Barclays lowered its ratings on the airport operators. The brokerage said AdP’s stock trades near fair value. Barclays added that passenger spending in Frankfurt airport’s shops has fallen below its estimates and the investment needed to build a third terminal may prevent Fraport from increasing its dividend.

US stocks rose, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 index heading for its biggest gain of the year, as better-than-forecast retail sales and corporate merger activity signalled confidence in the economy.

Google added 2 per cent after agreeing to buy digital-thermostat maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion in cash. Time Warner Cable climbed 3.1 per cent after rejecting an acquisition offer from Charter Communications.

Intel and Jabil Circuit paced gains among technology companies, rising at least 3.7 per cent amid analyst upgrades. (Further reporting Press Association, Bloomberg)