Iseq starts session strong but drifts downward

Aryzta drops 10% after prediction of erratic growth leaves investors unimpressed

The   trading floor of Bats Chi-X Europe,  in London: The FTSE 100 Index lifted 34.8 points to 6174.6 following a solid performance from mining stocks and a 1 per cent overnight rise in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng stock market.  Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

The trading floor of Bats Chi-X Europe, in London: The FTSE 100 Index lifted 34.8 points to 6174.6 following a solid performance from mining stocks and a 1 per cent overnight rise in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng stock market. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

 

Dublin The Irish market got the session off to a strong start, but weakness crept in during the afternoon and dragged the Iseq down to end the day 0.6 per cent lower. The overall Iseq index finished up at 6,305.56, 36 points lower on the day.

Among the chief movers was Aryzta, which fell more than 10 per cent to €39.56 after it revealed half-yearly figures. The Swiss-Irish food group reported revenues of €1.96 billion in the six months to the end of January, but admitted growth would be erratic over the next 18 months.

The pattern showed by the overall Iseq index was repeated with other stocks. Bank of Ireland began the session strongly, gaining more than 4 per cent throughout the day, but fell back to 28.8 cent by close, down almost 1.4 per cent.

Applegreen didn’t attract too much volume, but the stock closed at €4.60, a rise of more than 2 per cent.

London The FTSE 100 Index lifted 34.8 points to 6174.6 following a solid performance from mining stocks and a 1 per cent overnight rise in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng stock market.

In stocks, miners were higher, buoyed by rises in the copper market this month. Glencore lifted 6.2p to 147.9p, Anglo American climbed 30.9p to 546.5p, and Antofagasta rose 13.5p to 537.5p.

Argos owner Home Retail Group lifted more than 1 per cent, or 2.2p, to 181.5p, after weekend reports said that supermarket Sainsbury’s is considering raising its offer by £200 million to £1.5 billion.

Europe Overall European equities extended gains, with auto shares propelled by a positive outlook for the sector and miners helped by a steadying of copper prices below four-month highs.

The European mining index rose 1.8 per cent, the top gainer in the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index after data from China at the weekend and comments by a regulator soothed worries over both the health of the world’s second-biggest economy and the outlook for metals demand.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Automobiles and Parts index rose 1.6 per cent following a positive note from Kepler Cheuvreux, which upgraded its stance on firms such as Daimler, Peugeot, BMW and Continental.

The FTSEurofirst 300, which climbed 2.7 per cent on Friday, ended 0.7 per cent higher, while the euro zone’s blue- chip Euro Stoxx 50 index advanced 0.6 per cent. Germany’s Dax rose 1.6 per cent after briefly climbing back over the 10,000 point mark (a key level for many technical traders) for the first time since January.

Italian banks also supported the market. Monte dei Paschi di Siena surged 10 percent, with traders citing speculation that state holding Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) might intervene in a government-sponsored rescue of the troubled bank.

Shares in Carige rose 3.7 percent, while Banco Popolare gained 2.6 percent. Analysts said banks in the “peripheral” nations of Italy, Spain and Portugal were continuing to rally on the ECB’s plans for a new round of cheap sector funding.

United States Wall Street was little changed as losses in energy shares were offset by gains in consumer discretionary stocks and investors paused ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s meeting on monetary policy this week.

US crude fell more than 4 per cent after Iran quashed hopes of a quick deal by major producers to freeze output. Brent crude fell below $40 a barrel.

A recovery in oil prices and data pointing to a strengthening US economy have helped stocks recover from a steep selloff at the start of the year.

The S&P 500 is now down only about 1 per cent in 2016, after having declined as much as 10.5 per cent in mid-February.

“Call it the calm before the storm,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago. “This is really probably not a day to make too many big bets, given that we could have some outlook changing information in the next couple of days.” Additional reporting: Reuters