Iseq flirts with 7,000 points for first time since 2007
Ryanair surges 2.4% after reporting it carried 14% more passengers in April than last year
A strong performance by Ryanair helped the Iseq index rise to within six points of the key psychological 7,000-point level on Wednesday for the first time since late 2007.
The Iseq index rose to within six points of the key psychological 7,000-point level on Wednesday for the first time since late 2007, helped by a strong performance by one Ryanair, as the wider European markets ended trading little changed on the day.
The Irish benchmark index ended the session off its highs, at 6,989.14, which marked a 0.1 per cent improvement on the day. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index dipped 0.04 per cent, having gained 7.7 per cent so far this year.
Ryanair, one of the largest companies on the Iseq, surged by 2.4 per cent to €16.40 after the carrier reported it carried 14 per cent more passengers in April than it did last year, helped by Easter falling later in 2017. The company’s load factor, or ratio of passengers on available seats, rose three percentage points to 96 per cent.
However, Paddy Power Betfair dropped 4.2 per cent to €99.70, as the group’s profitable performance at Cheltenham was undone by results that “favoured customers” at the likes of the US Masters and Grand National.
Elsewhere, Bank of Ireland was in demand, rising 0.8 per cent to 24c, while Smurfit Kappa added 1 per cent to €25.00 as investors positioned themselves ahead of an update on trading from the paper packaging group on Friday.
Britain’s top share index fell, weighed down by weaker commodity stocks, while supermarket Sainsbury’s dropped after an underwhelming earnings update.
The blue chip FTSE 100 was down 0.2 per cent at 7,234.53 points at its close.
Sainsbury’s was the biggest blue chip faller, sinking almost 6 per cent after the grocer reported a third straight year of underlying profit decline, despite the boost to earnings from last year’s purchase of Argos, the general merchandise retailer.
Heavyweight miners Glencore, Anglo American and Rio Tinto all dropped between 2.7 per cent and 3.7 per cent, after copper prices fell as the dollar ticked higher on expectations the US Federal Reserve will signal a June rate rise later in the session.
BP was among the biggest individual drags to the index with a 0.7 per cent fall following the strong gains it made in the previous session after a better-than-expected earnings update.
European suppliers of Apple led losses in technology shares, with Dialog Semiconductor down 2.5 per cent, while AMS and STMicroelectronics lost at least 1.2 per cent as a result of news late on Tuesday that iPhone sales dropped in the quarter to the end of March.
Among shares active on corporate results, Danish pharmaceuticals group Novo Nordisk surged 6.8 per cent, leading an advance in healthcare companies, after reporting higher-than-expected earnings and saying its effort to cut costs are starting to pay off.
In a show of relief that France averted the worst-case scenario for a run-off vote, US-listed French exchange traded funds have seen inflows of $562 million in the past week. The CAC 40 Index in Paris fell 0.1 per cent after reaching its highest level since 2008 on Tuesday.
US stocks were lower in early afternoon trading on Wednesday, ahead of a statement by the Federal Reserve suggesting the US slowdown was temporary.
Apple dropped as much as 2.2 per cent after the technology giant’s disappointing iPhone sales put a damper on what has been a largely upbeat earnings season among US companies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1 per cent, at 20,928.77, while the S&P 500 lost 0.26 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.45 per cent.
Fast food group Yum Brands rose 2.6 per cent after posting quarterly earnings which beat market expectations.
However, Automatic Data Processing, a provider of human resources management software and services, fell 5.5 per cent after its revenue missed analysts’ estimates.
Explorer Anadarko Petroleum fell 9.2 per cent after one of its wells was linked to a fatal explosion at a Colorado home. – (Additional reporting: Reuters, Bloomberg)