Irish shares advance for first time in five sessions

European markets buoyed by speculation that US could resume trade talks with China

Ireland's Iseq index advanced for the first time in five sessions, led by insurer FBD Holdings and nutrition giant Kerry Group, as the wider European market was buoyed by speculation that the United States could resume trade talks with China.


The Iseq Index advanced 0.2 per cent to 6,757.63, underpinned by the Economic and Social Research Institute raising its Irish economic forecasts for this year and next.

FBD rose by 2.5 per cent to €10.25, while Kerry Group advanced by 2.4 per cent to €94.35 and Glanbia edged 1.4 per cent higher to €14.60.

Shares in agri-services group Origin Enterprises added 0.5 per cent higher to €5.87 after it reported better-than-expected results for its financial year to the end of July. Davy analysts said they planned to increase their earnings estimates for the company for its current fiscal year.


Bucking the trend, Amryt Pharma lost 4.8 per cent to 20 cent, gleaning no support from news that sales of its lead commercial drug Lojuxta, a treatment for a rare cholesterol disorder, had surged by almost 15 per cent in the first half of this year.

Travel software firm Datalex fell by 2.4 per cent to €2.49 as its chief financial officer, David Kennedy, said he would step down at the end of this year to become chief executive of a "private company outside the industry".


The FTSE 100 ended 0.1 per cent up, as investors took profits from a recent rally in oil majors after crude prices hit a four-year peak, while retailer Boohoo jumped after a strong set of earnings.

Boohoo shares jumped 11 per cent after the fashion retailer raised its full-year sales forecast and first half profit increased 22 per cent.

Miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo were among the leading FTSE losers, both down 2.5 and 3.6 per cent respectively, while oil majors Shell and BP also lost ground.

AA fell 13 per cent after the roadside recovery and insurance group said extreme weather had raised its costs and hit first-half core profit.

Concerns about the progress of Brexit negotiations dogged sentiment with British carmakers triggering some contingency plans by certifying models in Europe.


French telecommunications group Bouygues rose 2.7 per cent after the stock was upgraded to overweight by JP Morgan. However, Belgian peer Telenet fell 2.1 per cent after a rating cut by Barclays.

Deutsche Bank lost 1.4 per cent. The company dismissed speculation that it might seek a merger as "fictions" after media reports suggested Germany's biggest lender might seek tie ups with Switzerland's UBS or German peer Commerzbank.

UBS ended little changed and Commerzbank eased 0.6 percent


US equities edged higher in early afternoon trading before the Federal Reserve’s rate decision later in the day.

Pharmaceutical companies were among the best performers while commodity shares trailed as Brent oil dropped from a four-year high.

While investors were treating another Fed rate hike as all but certain, the outlook for future policy as signalled by the dot plot and any comments from chairman Jerome Powell will be key to whether bond markets extend their recent selloff.

The S&P 500 index rose by 0.3 per cent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2 per cent and the Nasdaq inched 0.3 per cent higher.

Among individual stocks, Alexion Pharmaceuticals rose on a deal to buy privately-held Syntimmune in a $1.2 billion transaction.

However, Nike fell after reporting a small rise in quarterly gross margins and left its 2019 forecast unchanged.

Shares in IBM gained after analysts at UBS upgraded them to 'buy' from 'neutral', predicting that the group would report better-than-expected earnings next year. – Additional reporting: Reuters, Bloomberg

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times