Quiet, mostly positive day on the markets

Iseq up 0.15 per cent on fairly low volumes

Ryanair finished the day  6.6 cent ahead at ¤6.96

Ryanair finished the day 6.6 cent ahead at ¤6.96


Markets had a mostly quiet day yesterday, with stocks holding their own in general.

Investors continued to mull the likely intentions of the Federal Reserve on asset purchases, with yesterday’s signal on this coming from weaker-than-expected US data on growth and jobless claims.

Corporate news was light on the Irish market, with Ryanair and Aer Lingus providing the exception after the UK Competition Commission issued provisional findings on the relationship between the two airlines.

The commission decided that Ryanair holding a 29.82 per cent stake in its rival has reduced competition, and is seeking remedies that could include the sale of the holding.

Ryanair ended the day stronger as investors processed the news, finishing 6.6 cent ahead at €6.96.

Aer Lingus rebounded slightly from Wednesday’s weakness, rising by 2 cent to €1.55.

Grafton weakened, probably hit by a decline in reported profits at UK peer Kingfisher. The stock shed 12.5 cent to close at €5.41.

Bank of Ireland lost some ground after Wednesday’s confirmation of a €500 million fund-raising, ending the session 0.4 cent lower at 18.5 cent. The stock is due to enter the MSCI ACWI Index at close of business today.

Tullow issued a disappointing update on its Calao well off Cote d’Ivoire, saying it had failed to encounter a commercial level of hydrocarbons. Its shares in Dublin were unperturbed, rising by 7.4 cent to €12.134.

Elan attracted some attention after holding its agm. Shares dropped by 7.7 cent to €9.423. Market heavyweight CRH was strong on reasonable volume after experiencing some weakness on Wednesday, adding 34.5 cent to €16.66.

UK stocks advanced, with the FTSE 100 index rebounding from its lowest level in 2½ weeks as shares of banks and mining companies rallied.

Rio Tinto and Glencore Xstrata each advanced more than 1.5 per cent.

Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland led a gauge of lenders higher. John Wood Group climbed 1.9 per cent as Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation on the oil-services company. Tesco lost 1.5 per cent as JPMorgan Chase downgraded the shares.

European stocks climbed, rebounding from a three-week low. The Stoxx Europe 600 index added 0.4 per cent to reach 303.55 at the close.

The gauge is heading for a 2.3 per cent advance in May, extending its longest streak of monthly gains since 1997.

Genmab jumped 6.8 per cent to 208.50 kroner in Copenhagen. A study found that chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients given Arzerra in combination with a second medicine lived 9.3 months longer without their condition worsening.

Saft Groupe rose 2.5 per cent to €18.37 after the maker of batteries for the aerospace industry entered an agreement with Schneider Electric to collaborate on supplying electrical-energy storage systems for commercial and industrial buildings.

US stocks also rose in early trade as weaker-than-expected data on economic growth and jobless claims boosted speculation the Federal Reserve will maintain stimulus.

NV Energy surged 23 per cent after Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings said it will pay $5.6 billion for Nevada’s biggest utility.

Clearwire jumped 23 per cent after Dish Network raised its bid for the company.

Alcoa slipped 0.5 per cent after Moody’s cut its rating on the company’s debt to one level below investment grade.

“The take away from today‘s statistics is that there‘s going to continue to be a bias to keep QE in place,” said Matthew Kaufler, fund manager at Federated Investors in New York. – (Additional reporting, Bloomberg)