Iseq trails Europe as leading stocks decline

Market dominated by €1bn offer for Hibernia Reit

Falls in leading stocks left the Irish Stock Exchange trailing the rest of Europe, where rallying commodities prices boosted markets slightly.

DUBLIN

News of Canadian group Brookfield’s €1.089 billion bid for office builder and investor, Hibernia Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit), dominated the Irish market.

Its stock soared to a high of €1.624 after Hibernia confirmed the €1.634 a share offer on Friday morning. The price slipped back slightly to close 36.78 per cent up at €1.614.

Dealers described the volumes of Hibernia stock traded as “huge”. Around 134 million of its shares changed hands on Friday.

Some of the market's heavyweights had a tougher day. Building materials giant CRH fell 2 per cent to €37.65 after Italian rival, Buzzi, published results that disappointed some analysts.

Paddy Power and Betfair owner Flutter closed 0.95 per cent down at €104.60. Food group Kerry shed 1.96 per cent to close at €100.

“When three or four of those big names are down, it tends to drag down the overall index,” one dealer remarked.

Ryanair was one of the few leading stocks to enjoy a good day, climbing 1.42 per cent to €13.185.

Among the smaller names, AIB shed 3.19 per cent to close at €1.941. Dealers said there was no "stock-specific news" that hit the bank's shares.

LONDON

Transport group Go-Ahead climbed 7.4 per cent to 798.5 pence sterling after rail company, Govia, which it 65 per cent owns, was awarded the Thameslink franchise for the next three years.

Retailer Wickes said it continued to enjoy a DIY boost with households looking to touch up their homes during the past year.

It reported revenues were up 14 per cent to £1.5 billion in 2021 with pretax profits up to £65.4 million. Shares closed up 4.2 per cent at 180p.

House builder Persimmon shed 4.6 per cent to close at 2,096p while rival Taylor Wimpey slipped 3.8 per cent to 132.35p.

Aer Lingus and British Airways owner, International Consolidated Airlines Group, rose 1.81 per cent to 137.32p. Low-cost carrier Easyjet closed 1.41 per cent ahead at 516.4p.

EUROPE

Italian cement and concrete maker, Buzzi Unicem, a rival of Irish giant CRH, slid 3.82 per cent to €15.98.

The company released results on Friday showing earnings last year grew 4 per cent to €546 million.

However, dealers in Dublin suggested that the figures disappointed the markets, hitting the wider cement and building materials industry.

Telecom Italia rose 1.8 per cent to 33 cent as sources said CVC Capital Partners and rival private equity investors are looking at a potential investment in the services arm of the company.

Generali firmed 1.9 per cent to €19.42 buoyed by a new plan for the insurer that targets higher growth.

Sweden's Trelleborg AB vaulted 23.2 per cent to 215.2 Swedish kroner after Yokohama Rubber Co agreed to buy Trelleborg Wheel Systems for almost €2 billion.

US

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 fell on Friday as a rally in technology stocks lost steam, while the Dow held steady, with financial shares rising on growing bets of bigger interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Megacap stocks Apple, Tesla, Microsoft and Nvidia slipped between 0.5 per cent and 1.9 per cent after leading a Wall Street rebound this week. The S&P 500 technology sector fell 1 per cent, while semiconductor stocks lost 1.2 per cent.

Wells Fargo rose 2 per cent, while the broader financial index gained 1.2 per cent, as the US 10-year Treasury yield hit 2.4 per cent.

Energy shares rose, with oil majors Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil up 1.6 per cent each.

US stocks have rallied in six of the last eight sessions as gains in megacap stocks and strong economic data overshadowed worries about escalating geopolitical tensions, higher oil prices and calls for aggressive action by the Fed to combat surging inflation. – Additional reporting: Reuters