Wall Street gains on strong factory data

INM falls as rival Johnston Press books major loss on sale of regional newspapers

World equity markets added to recent gains yesterday, as Wall Street hit a record high after strong factory data, while soft manufacturing numbers in China reinforced expectations that the country will undertake stimulus measures.

Mining equipment company Mincon finished up one cent at €1.04 ahead of its full-year results today.

Independent News & Media fell 3.39 per cent to 17 cent. Rival Johnston Press media group sold its 14 Irish regional newspapers to Iconic Newspapers Ltd, yesterday for just €8.5 million. Johnston Press paid about £115 million to acquire regional and local papers in Ireland in 2005.

“The read through for INM’s regional titles is obviously negative,” a Dublin broker said, “But the collapse in value of Irish local newspapers is already largely factored into the stock.”


Bank of Ireland was among the biggest winners adding 5.52 per cent to 32 cent. A Dublin broker said: "I wouldn't read too much into this. The stock is still well below its high of earlier this year." AIB was also up 2.82 per cent to 15 cent. Paddy Power was also a notable mover gaining 10 cent to €57.60.

In London, insurers rose, with Prudential up nearly 48.5p to 1317p, while Legal & General added 7p to 211.7p and Aviva was up 15.1p to 492.1p. Insurers gained as a furore surrounding a probe into the industry by insurance watchdog the FCA failed to die down.

BHP added 38p to 1882p after confirming a potential demerger of assets such as aluminium and nickel into a separate company. Babcock International made strong gains for the second session in a row – up 3 per cent to 1387p. It came after a broker upgrade.

Glasgow-headquartered ++Weir Group saw shares slip 18p to 2518p as investors digested its bid to merge with Finnish rival Metso in a deal that could create an engineering giant.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Aberdeen Asset Management , up 26.2p to 416.5p, ARM Holdings up 49p to 1047p, Sports Direct up 40.5p to 892.5p and Prudential up 48.5p to 1317p. The biggest fallers were Sainsbury's , down 6.6p to 309.5p, Pearson down 19p to 1044p, Morrisons down 2.2p to 210.8p and Mondi down 8p to 1041p.

European stocks extending their two- week rally, helped by M&A fever as well as robust French and US factory data. France's blue chip index CAC 40 hit a 5½ year high, gaining 0.8 per cent on the day, after data showed the manufacturing sector emerging from a long decline .

Spanish stocks also rallied strongly, with the IBEX gaining 1.2 per cent. A government source said yesterday Spain could raise its 2014 GDP growth forecast to between 1 per cent and 1.5 per cent.

The European stock market’s rally in the past few days has been fuelled in part by mounting expectations of new ECB stimulus measures, cemented by lower-than- expected euro zone inflation data.

US stocks rose, with the Standard and Poor's 500 Index rising to an intraday record, as consumer and technology shares rallied and an increase in a manufacturing index boosted optimism the economy withstood severe winter weather.

Cisco Systems jumped 3.6 percent to lead tech shares higher. Celgene rallied 3.5 per cent to pace gains among biotechnology stocks after entering a co-operation with a cancer-drug research firm.

Wynn Resorts added 2.4 per cent to lead casino stocks higher after Macau gambling revenue increased last month. Ford Motor Co . climbed the most since 2012 after March sales topped estimates. Walt Disney rose 1.3 per cent to $81.13. General Motors rose 1.1 per cent to $34.78 after losing 16 per cent in the first quarter. It has announced a new recall of 1.5 million vehicles for faulty power steering, doubling recall-related charges to $750 million. – (Additional reporting Reuters, Bloomberg)