US stocks rise for fifth time in six days

Shares in Irish property investment vehicle Hibernia Reit climb by 1.5 cent

ECB president Mario Draghi pledged to ease monetary policy in June if necessary. Photograph:  EPA/Sergio Garcia

ECB president Mario Draghi pledged to ease monetary policy in June if necessary. Photograph: EPA/Sergio Garcia


News that the US economy shrank in the first quarter was high in the minds of investors yesterday, but most chose to focus on a sense conditions had improved since then. In Europe, trade was limited by a number of markets being closed for Ascension Thursday, while the Iseq saw a drop of 0.31 per cent on light volumes. DUBLIN One Dublin dealer described Iseq trading as “slightly jittery”, with the holiday in much of Europe leading to lower volumes. Hibernia Reit did its bit by announcing the acquisition of an office building and a development site in Dublin’s docklands. Shares in the property investment vehicle climbed by 1.5 cent to €1.05, while sectoral stablemate Green Reit fell by the same amount to €1.255 as about two million of its shares changed hands. Aer Lingus did well despite the imminence of today’s strike, with strength in the US sector overnight on Wednesday helping to drive shares up by two cent to €1.50. Ryanair was flat at €7.32.

Origin, which issued a positive update on Wednesday, was solid as it climbed by 33 cent to €8.10. The company noted yesterday its chief financial officer Brendan Fitzgerald had raised €434,500 before expenses by selling 55,000 shares at €7.90. Mr Fitzgerald continues to hold 0.4 per cent of Origin shares.

Late in the day, it emerged that Worldview Capital Management had further raised its stake in explorer, Petroceltic. The investment management group, which has raised issues about a recent share placing at Petroceltic, increased its holding to 17.08 per cent last week and has now raised it further, reaching 19.9 per cent.

LONDON UK stocks climbed, closing near their highest level since December 1999, as investors appeared to decide the poor US economic figures were not overly worrying. The FTSE 100 Index rose by 20.07 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 6,871.29 at the close of trading in London. The equity benchmark has risen 6.5 per cent from this year’s low in early February and is 0.1 per cent away from the peak it reached on May 14th. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also added 0.3 per cent.

IMI added 3 per cent as UBS recommended buying the engineering company’s shares. Man Group rose 5 per cent after saying it has held talks to buy Boston-based money manager Numeric Holdings. Kingfisher fell the most since September 2011 after quarterly profit missed estimates and profitability dropped in Britain and Ireland.

EUROPE European stocks were little changed near a six-year high, with the US data always in the background. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed less than 0.1 per cent to 344.4, with the benchmark gauge having gained 1.9 per cent in May as ECB president Mario Draghi pledged to ease monetary policy in June if necessary.

Volumes were off across the continent as a number of markets were closed for the Ascension Day holiday, leading to additional volatility. National benchmark indexes fell in seven of the 10 western-European markets open today. Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac 40 slipped less than 0.1 per cent.

The Stoxx 600 advanced 8.5 per cent from a February 4th low through to May 27th, rising to its highest level since January 2008.

NEW YORK US stocks rose for the fifth time in six days after Tyson Foods offered to buy Hillshire Brands and investors speculated the economy is improving after the first-quarter contraction.

Hillshire Brands jumped 16 per cent after Tyson made a $6.8 billion offer to buy the company, trumping a competing bid from Pilgrim’s Pride. Tyson added 6.3 per cent for the biggest gain in the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index. Biogen Idec climbed 3 per cent after JPMorgan Chase raised its recommendation on the biotechnology company. Abercrombie and Fitch jumped 4.7 per cent as the clothing retailer posted a smaller-than-estimated quarterly loss. – (Additional reporting, Bloomberg)