Cautious investors prompt early falls

INVESTORS exercised caution yesterday ahead of a slew of quarterly results announcements from US companies next week, resulting in early falls in the main American markets and slow movement across Europe.

Each of the main European markets inched higher – the FTSE in London adding 0.5% to 5,133 points; Paris’ CAC posting the same percentage gain to 3,554; and Germany’s DAX adding just enough to breach the 6,000 point mark.

By early evening both the Dow Jones and Nasdaq exchanges on Wall Street had reversed their earlier slips and had begun to creep upwards, as outlook concerning next week’s US results brightened slightly.

The day had started with good signs coming from the main Asian markets – Tokyo up by half a percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gaining 1.6%.

In Dublin, however, the ISEQ’s slow recovery ceased, albeit not too dramatically. The Irish market was down by 0.4% at just over 2,884 points.

That marginal dip was chiefly driven by significant enough falls in some traditionally good performers such as DCC; food groups Aryzta and Glanbia; building materials giants CRH and Grafton Group and betting specialist Paddy Power.

The latter shed 10c to close the week at €26.40, while CRH suffered its third consecutive bad day (following on from last Wednesday’s underwhelming operational outlook), falling another 17c to €15.53. Meanwhile, Grafton dropped 7c to €3.06; DCC was down 5c at €18.30; Aryzta fell 11c to €32.55 and Glanbia fell 14c to €3.06.

Bank of Ireland was the only one of the banking stocks to move in a positive direction, gaining 2c to close at 73c. AIB fell by 2c to close at 93c and Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P), comfortably still the only one of the listed Irish banks to be worth more than €1 per share, dropped 1c to €1.57.

Bank of Ireland was only one of a small bunch of climbers on the ISEQ yesterday and in terms of profile only one of three – Smurfit Kappa inching forward by 2c to €7.12, and Ryanair, up by 6c at €3.86; being the others.

Other notable performers were venture capital/investment specialist, TVC Holdings and exploration and mining companies Dragon Oil and Ovoca Gold.


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