Investors dare to hope over Greek deal

US stocks fall from near record levels, with eight of the 10 main S&P 500 sectors down

The Iseq in Dublin, up 1.3 per cent, le

d the charge among European bourses as stocks climbed on optimism a resolution to Greek debt talks is close.

US stocks fell from near record levels, while US treasuries rose for the first time in three days as the negotiations pushed into next week. The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.3 per cent by lunchtime in New York.

Ireland’s and Italy’s exchanges saw the biggest gains in western European while gauges in Portugal and the Netherlands also rose. Greece’s ASE Index added 0.6 per cent. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.4 per by the close of trading.

Britain’s top share index extended a four-week losing streak, despite edging higher to move further from a five- month low hit in the previous session.

DUBLIN

Fyffes

, which is also listed in London, was the standout performer on the Iseq. It rose more than 10 per cent after it raised its 2015 earnings targets after securing price increases. The stock closed at €1.30, back near the levels it reached last year when it was subject to a merger approach with Chiquita.

Applegreen, which has a 12 per cent share of the Irish motor fuels market, had a happy first day on the stock exchange. After its flotation yesterday, it rose 4.2 per cent to close the day at €4.18 a share. About 4.1 million of its shares changed hands, traders said, while it raised close to €92 million with its flotation.

Petroceltic, the Egypt and Italy based oil explorer, rose almost 7 per cent, days after agreeing the sale of its Romanian assets. The company is riding the wave of a rebound in exporation stocks as the price of oil is expected to rebound. Investors will watch next to see if it offloads its operations in Greece, having also withdrawn from Kurdistan recently.

LONDON

The FTSE 100 was broadly flat in percentage terms, although it fell 1.1 per cent for the week.

Shares in Hikma Pharmaceuticals rose 2.7 per cent, among the top FTSE risers, after Citi raised its rating on the stock to buy. Citi said a fall of more than 25 per cent in the share from highs hit in February exceeded cuts in earnings estimates, adding that valuations were now attractive.

Colt Group surged 20 per cent after Fidelity offered to acquire the communications provider in a deal valued at £1.72 billion.

Glencore fell 1.7 per cent after the commodity producer sold its Cosmos nickel mine.

EUROPE

Valeo

climbed 4.2 per cent after the French manufacturer of auto parts announced it bought a 10.5 per cent stake in Aledia, which makes LEDs.

Banco BPI fell 9.1 per cent after CaixaBank withdrew its offer for the Portuguese lender as its shareholders rejected a key condition. CaixaBank rose 0.8 per cent.

European telecoms groups fared well. French group Numericable rose strongly, lifted by an upbeat note from broker Kepler, while Orange also progressed after France announced a mobile spectrum sale.

German steelmaker Thyssenkrupp also climbed after Citigroup upgraded its rating on the stock to buy.

NEW YORK

Eight of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were lower by the afternoon, with the energy index leading the declines with a 0.88 per cent drop.

Apple's 0.9 per cent drop weighed heavily on the S&P and Nasdaq while Traveler's 1.5 per cent fall was the biggest drag on the Dow.

ConAgra Foods shares were up 8.6 per cent at $42.50 after activist hedge fund Jana Partners took a stake in the company. Macerich slumped 6.3 per cent to $77.22 as Simon Property Group exits its ownership stake in the number three US mall owner.

Hershey was down 3.6 at $88.89 after the chocolate maker trimmed its full-year sales growth forecast, citing weak sales in China. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters)