Markets tread water as ECB holds rates but promises further help for economy

A larger-than-expected rise in US jobless claims keeps investors on the edge

Building giant CRH fell 0.77 per cent to close the day at €20.62.  Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Building giant CRH fell 0.77 per cent to close the day at €20.62. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 


The Iseq fell 0.3 per cent today as Dublin tracked the performance of the majority of global equity markets, which traded lower on economic news from the US and Europe.

A larger-than-expected rise in US jobless claims kept investors on edge a day ahead of the government’s monthly labour market report.

Stocks in Europe were little changed, after climbing for seven days, as European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said policymakers are prepared to add further measures to support the euro-area economy if necessary.

National benchmark indexes rose in nine of 18 western- European markets. France’s CAC 40 gained 0.4 per cent, the UK’s FTSE 100 lost 0.2 per cent, and Germany’s DAX added 0.1 per cent.

Markets in Italy and Spain closed at their highest levels since May 2011.


DUBLIN
Tullow Oil was the stand out performer in Dublin and London yesterday. It climbed 6 per cent to €9.60 after UBS raised its recommendation on the shares to buy from hold, citing a strong portfolio of assets and an attractive price. The oil explorer tumbled 53 per cent from a February 2012 high through the end of March.

Bank of Ireland climbed 2.19 per cent to close the day at 32.7 cents a share. The bank surprised markets yesterday, following a newspaper report that it plans to refund stamp duty to buyers of new and second hand homes.

Analysts said that the bank may be set to ease its mortgage lending criteria in order to capitalise on the rise in house prices.

CRH, the building materials giant, fell 0.77 per cent to close the day at €20.62. Traders said the fall came despite a positive read through from the performance of Texas Industries, a building materials supplier in the lone star state.

It reported a stronger performance in its home market. CRH is more focused on the northeast of the country.
LONDON
Just Eat, an online takeaway service that connects diners directly to restaurants, jumped 8.9 per cent to 283 pence. The stock sale represents 24.6 per cent of its ordinary shares. The company said it expects to raise £360 million from the initial public offering.

B&Q’s owner Kingfisher rose 3 per cent after Europe’s biggest home-improvement retailer began a €275 million takeover bid for France’s Mr Bricolage, moving to strengthen its position in its most profitable market.

BTG advanced 1 per cent to 546.5 pence after saying it expects revenue near the upper end of £275 million to £285 million for the year ended March 3st. The growth reflects new revenue from last year’s acquisitions of TheraSphere, a liver-cancer medicine, and Ekos, a US maker of a treatment for severe blood clots.


EUROPE
Pernod Ricard fell 1.2 per cent to €83.16. Credit Suisse cut its rating on the maker of Absolut vodka and Chivas Regal whisky to underperform, similar to a sell recommendation, saying an improvement in Chinese sales may take longer than investors expect.

Nokian Renkaat dropped 2.7 per cent to €29.86. The Finnish tire maker said net sales and operating profit will drop this year because of the weaker outlook for Russia’s economy and the declining ruble. Russia and its neighbouring countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States accounted for 34 per cent of the company’s sales last year.


NEW YORK
Barnes and Noble plunged 13 per cent to $19.14 as investor Liberty Media said it will reduce its stake in the bookstore chain, dropping a board seat and freeing the company to develop a strategy on its own.

Google Class C shares rose 2.7 per cent to $582.10 while the Class A shares added 2.5 per cent to $582.40. The company issued 330 million non-voting C class shares, a move that cements control for founders Brin and Page. ( Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters)

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