Light volumes mark May Day holiday

Iseq finishes session slightly ahead as three firms update market on progress

Aer Lingus issued a broadly upbeat statement. Shares in the airline were fairly quiet and gained just 1 cent to close at €1.53. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Aer Lingus issued a broadly upbeat statement. Shares in the airline were fairly quiet and gained just 1 cent to close at €1.53. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh


The May Day holiday across most of Europe meant yesterday was, in one dealer’s words, “a messy day”, with light volumes leading to jumpy performances. A handful of Irish companies did their bit to fly the flag by issuing updates but, for a large part of the market, the forthcoming bank holiday seemed to be setting the tone.

Kingspan was among three Irish names to update the market on its progress, with analysts positive on the insulation specialist’s solid start to the year, issued as it held its agm in Dublin. Shares in the Cavan-based group had ticked up over the last week and took a breather after the update was released, finishing 22 cent lower at €13.345.

Aer Lingus also issued a broadly upbeat statement, with investors already having taken account of a late Easter for first-quarter numbers. Shares in the airline were fairly quiet and gained just 1 cent to close at €1.53. Aer Lingus will hold its agm in Dublin today, as will Smurfit Kappa. The paper and packaging group fell 2.5 cent to €16.01, with investors likely to seek guidance on future pricing within today’s update.

Kerry lost ground after updating investors on its first-quarter performance at its agm in Tralee, with an unexpected drop in revenues blamed on unhelpful currency movements. Shares in the food giant shed 2.76 per cent, or 157 cent, to end the session at €55.33.

Game Account Network did well after issuing strong results on Wednesday, climbing 14 cent to €1.61, albeit on low volume. Paddy Power also rose on limited business volumes, adding 170 cent to end the session at €57.30 after an upgrade from Davy. Also on the positive side at the end was Green Reit, which rose by 4 cent to €1.24 after receiving sanction at its egm to raise an additional €400 million.

Stocks advanced for a fourth day as manufacturing expanded more than estimated, and as companies from British Sky Broadcasting to Lloyds rose after posting results. BSkyB climbed 2.3 per cent after Britain’s largest pay-TV broadcaster said nine-month revenue increased 6.6 per cent. Lloyds rallied the most in nine months after saying profit jumped 22 per cent in the first quarter.

Tesco and J Sainsbury fell more than 2 per cent after fellow grocer Wm Morrison Supermarkets cut prices on 1,200 products.

The FTSE 100 Index added 28.84 points, or 0.4 per cent, to close at 6,808.87 in London. The benchmark climbed 2.8 per cent in April amid an upsurge in mergers-and-acquisitions activity.

The FTSE All-Share Index rose 0.4 per cent.

“The UK economy is doing better than other regions and we expect that to continue,” Stewart Richardson, chief investment officer at RMG Wealth Management, said by phone.

Buoyed by the Lloyds performance, a gauge of banks jumped 1.7 per cent, contributing the most to the FTSE 350 Index’s gain.

European markets closed due to May Day holiday.

US stocks rose in early trading as the Nasdaq advanced alongside internet names, which were boosted by strong results from Yelp. Equities had opened mildly lower, with investors finding few reasons to keep chasing gains following a record close in the Dow on Wednesday. Some disappointing quarterly results, including from Cardinal Health and Textron, also limited gains. Yelp jumped 13 per cent to $65.82 a day after reporting strong revenue growth. The results lifted internet names, which have slumped recently on concerns that they, along with biotech “momentum” names, were overvalued.

Netflix rose 5.7 per cent to $340.49 while TripAdvisor climbed 4.4 per cent to $84.30 and Facebook was up 3.7 per cent to $61.99. Cardinal fell 5.4 per cent to $65.78. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters)