Irish stocks a bright spot as global markets decline
Iseq rose 0.76%, buoyed by financials and CRH, outperforming peers
Earnings from one of the Iseq’s most significant component companies boosted the index by 0.76 per cent on Thursday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Irish stocks were a bright spot among peers on Thursday as global equities declined on the back of an abrupt ending to US president Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Earnings from one of the Iseq’s most significant component companies boosted the index by 0.76 per cent on Thursday.
Index heavyweight CRH rose 1.05 per cent to €27.84 after it signalled plans to follow up its first share buyback in a decade with further purchases. The building materials giant reported a 7 per cent rise in earnings last year to €43.37 billion, while it generated €2.4 billion of free cash.
Having had a poor performance earlier in the week after posting results, Bank of Ireland advanced 4.29 per cent to €5.72, while Permanent TSB increased 2.86 per cent to €1.58. AIB, which releases results on Friday, rose 4.71 per cent to €4.14 on strong volume.
Among the fallers on Thursday was budget airline Ryanair. While Aer Lingus owner IAG traded up marginally on the day, Lufthansa, EasyJet and Air France-KLM all fell. Ryanair closed almost 1 per cent lower at €12.15.
Britain’s Ftse 100 was lower on Thursday as Rolls-Royce slipped and results dragged on British American Tobacco while miners fell on weak Chinese factory data.
Miners and oil majors were among the top drags on the main index along with British American Tobacco, which fell 1.31 percent despite posting higher full-year profit and sales.
Aer Lingus parent IAG closed 0.15 per cent higher after reporting a a 9.5 per cent rise in operating profit before exceptional items to €3.23 billion. The Irish carrier, meanwhile, hit a record operating profit of €305 million.
Elsewhere London-listed but Dublin-headquartered building provider Grafton Group said revenue rose 9 per cent to £2.95 billion (€3.45 billion) with strong growth in its Irish merchanting and retail business. Shares in the group rose 1.14 per cent.
On the midcaps, luxury British carmaker Aston Martin slumped 16.54 per cent on track for its worst day since floating in early October after its annual adjusted pre-tax profit fell. Its chief executive, Andy Palmer, said a delay to Brexit would be a “further annoyance”, which would prolong uncertainty.
The Pan-European Stoxx 600 index was little changed on the day.
Shares in Zalando, Europe’s biggest online-only fashion retailer, rose 23.76 per cent after it set itself a target to triple the value of goods sold on its site in the next five to six years as it seeks to become the go-to app for fashion.
Rentokil added 6.01 per cent after higher annual earnings. The gain put the stock on course for its best day in more than 1½ years.
Sunrise Communications was among the losers. After its $6.3 billion deal to buy US cable giant Liberty Global’s Swiss assets hit a snag, it fell 8.47 per cent.
US stocks slipped on Thursday as a US-North Korea summit ended abruptly without an agreement, with a clutch of weak earnings adding to the downbeat sentiment.
The S&P 500 index was on track to record its third straight day of losses, after being boosted in recent weeks by optimism around trade and dovish signals from the Federal Reserve.
In early trade the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 21.16 points, or 0.08 per cent.
Booking Holdings sank 9.8 per cent by lunchtime in the US after the online travel services provider missed quarterly earnings expectations. The company weighed the most on the consumer discretionary sector.
HP also tumbled 16 per cent, pulling down the tech sector, after the company’s revenue fell short of analysts’ estimates.
Among other stocks, Bristol-Myers Squibb rose after top shareholder Wellington Management came out against the drugmaker’s $74 billion deal to buy biotech Celgene. Celgene shares fell.
Monster Beverage jumped after the it beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue and profit.
– Additional reporting: Reuters