Equity markets rise on US housing data

Euro at four-month low as traders assess wider implications of Cypriot bailout

It was a good day for Paddy Power, with shares rising 0.9 per cent to €69.85, a near all-time high. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

It was a good day for Paddy Power, with shares rising 0.9 per cent to €69.85, a near all-time high. Photograph: Aidan Crawley


Global equity markets and crude oil rose yesterday after more data pointed to an improving US economy, helping to offset intensified worries about Cyprus. The euro reached a four-month low versus the dollar as investors assessed whether Cyprus's bailout signalled deeper private-sector losses in bank restructurings.

The Dublin market was “relatively subdued”, finishing the day down 0.2 per cent at 3,923 on patchy volumes.

It was a good day for Paddy Power , with shares rising 0.9 per cent to €69.85, a near all-time high.

Bank of Ireland was among the most traded stocks, down 1.2 per cent at 16 cents. “The fallout from the Cypriot bailout is not helping Bank of Ireland shares,” one stockbroker said. “The bank’s stock along with that of other Europe an banks has been under pressure.”

Cement materials giant CRH closed down 1.07 per cent at €17.11, while Kingspan fell 1.8 per cent, to finish at €9.45.

Britain’s top share index rose yesterday, as traders latched on to encouraging data from the US while awaiting further news about the wider implications of a Cyprus bailout.

Financial stocks were among the top gainers as investors sought to add equities, which rise and fall with optimism on the economy.

Banks rose 0.6 per cent, gaining for the first time since March 14th. They had lost 5.3 per cent since the first plan to bail out Cyprus, which involved a levy on all deposits rather than just on large, uninsured ones, was unveiled a week ago.

Shares in Wm Morrison Supermarkets benefited from an upgrade, rising 3.5 per cent after Citigroup upgraded its recommendation on the company to “buy” from “neutral”.

The top faller on the FTSE was miner ENRC , down 3 per cent, bringing its decline in March to well over 20 per cent. Mid-cap peer Kazakhmys shed 8.6 per cent after it said it had taken a $2.22 billion impairment on the value of its stake in ENRC.

European stocks advanced as better- than-estimated US durable-goods orders and housing data helped offset concern that euro-zone politicians will impose losses on bank deposits in the region.

Celesio added 4 per cent to €14.50 after the Germany drug wholesaler said 2012 earnings exceeded its own target.

Spanish telecom group Telefonica tumbled almost 5 per cent, in trading volume at about 2½ times the 90-day daily average, after a sale of all of its treasury stock – equivalent to 2 per cent of its capital.

Germany’s Dax and the Cac 40 in France closed in positive territory – up 0.1 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively – after heavy falls on Monday amid fears that the plans to tax depositors in Cyprus would set a precedent across the euro zone.

US stocks rose yesterday, putting the S&P 500 within striking distance of its all-time high, as strong data on home prices pointed to an economy that was improving, albeit slowly.

In a sign that growth continues to be slow, sales of new US single-family homes fell more than expected in February, and the latest reading on consumer confidence was weaker than expected. Shares of homebuilding stocks were mixed. Lennar stock rose 0.4 per cent to $41.72, but Hovnanian Enterprises slid 3.1 per cent to $5.87.

In US corporate news, Monsanto and DuPont settled a legal battle over rights to technology for genetically modified seeds. The companies agreed to drop anti-trust and patent lawsuits against each other in US federal court.

Monsanto shares rose 4.4 per cent to $103.79. DuPont , a Dow component, shed 0.3 per cent to $48.97.

Netflix was the S&P 500’s top percentage gainer, jumping 5.4 per cent to $190.61 after Pacific Crest raised its price target on the stock to $225 from $160, citing prospects for international subscriber growth. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters)