Benchmark indices make good gains

 

NATIONAL benchmark indices gained in every western European market except Denmark yesterday. Britain’s FTSE 100 index added 0.57 per cent, France’s CAC 40 index climbed 0.94 per cent and Germany’s DAX advanced 0.79 per cent. Greece’s ASE posted the biggest gain, rising 2.7 per cent. Ireland’s Iseq index gained 1.10 per cent.

DUBLIN

IT WAS a good day across most stocks yesterday with the Iseq up by just over 1 per cent.

Building materials group CRH gave a strong performance, recovering from some ground lost on Monday. It closed the day up 2.74 per cent, or 39 cents, at €14.81.

Cavan-based building materials group Kingspan also rose. The company posted strong first half year results on Monday with a 19 per cent year-on-year increase in trading profits. Yesterday its stock rose 3.94 per cent or 28 cent to close at €7.61.

Ryanair continued its upward trend with some analysts attributing the rise to hypothetical debate over what the airline might do with slots at Heathrow should it acquire rival Aer Lingus. Ryanair closed at €4.20 yesterday, up 1.72 per cent, or 7 cents.

Bank of Ireland was one of the few Irish stocks to record a drop yesterday. While most banking stocks around Europe performed better, the Irish bank recorded a 2.2 per cent dip to close at 8 cents on low volumes.

Other fallers included drug company Elan, down 1.53 per cent, or 14 cents, ending the day at €9.38. Kerry Group was down by 0.07 per cent, or 2 cents, to €37.9.

LONDON

UK STOCKS climbed before a series of meetings between euro zone leaders that will try to calm the region’s sovereign-debt crisis.

Luxembourg’s prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the group of euro zone finance ministers, visits Athens which is seeking a two-year extension to to Greece’s fiscal-adjustment programme.

French president François Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Berlin tomorrow.

Rio Tinto, the world’s third-largest mining company, rose 2.1 per cent to 3,062.5 pence. BHP Billiton, the biggest, added 1.5 per cent to 1,980p. Vedanta Resources, a copper producer, rose 4.5 per cent to 966.5p.

Barclays added 3.2 per cent to 197.1p. The lender and South Africa’s Absa Group said they were in talks to combine their African units and complete a plan started seven years ago. RBS climbed 2.5 per cent to 237.5p.

Mecom Group, an investor in consumer media, rallied 3.8 per cent to 82.75 pence. Peel Hunt raised its recommendation to “buy”, saying Mecom’s strategic review may lead to asset sales.

EUROPE

MINING STOCKS posted the biggest gain of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

In Zurich, Lindt and Spruengli slipped 2 per cent to 34,955 Swiss francs after saying that Europe’s chocolate market remained “flat” in the first half of this year. The maker of the Lindt chocolate bunny also reported first-half earnings before interest and tax of SFr48.7 million, higher than the average analyst estimate of SFr48 million.

Straumann plunged 13 per cent to SFr108.80, its lowest price since 2003. The world’s biggest maker of dental implants reported first-half earnings before interest and taxes of SFr 53.3 million, missing the average analyst estimate of SFr59.3 million.

The company said it did not expect demand to recover in Europe in the short term.

In Vienna, Telekom Austria slid 3.9 per cent to €6.45, its lowest price since May 2001. Banco Espirito Santo cut its price estimate on the shares, the eighth brokerage to downgrade its forecast since the phone company lowered its full-year profit and revenue outlook on August 16th.

US

US STOCKS fell yesterday after the SP 500 hit its highest level in four years as the benchmark index faced technical resistance and traders cashed in recent gains.

Stocks rose early in the session and the euro rallied to a seven-week high against the US dollar, bolstered by talk that the European Central Bank will act to lower Spanish and Italian borrowing costs. However, they lost momentum after the first hour as traders took profits.

Technology stocks were among the day’s underperformers.

Facebook director Peter Thiel sold roughly $400 million worth of shares in the online social networking company last week, cashing out most of his stake. Facebook fell 4.3 percent to $19.16.

Best Buy slightly pared losses after falling to $16.25 to nine-year low. The company suspended its profit outlook and share buybacks for the year. Shares closed down 1.4 per cent at $17.91.

Shares of clothing retailer Urban Outfitters rose 18.2 per cent to $36.98 after several brokerages raised their price targets on the stock.

After the closing bell, shares of Dell fell 3.7 per cent to $11.88 after the number two US PC maker narrowly missed revenue estimates. – (Bloomberg)