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AIB buoys Iseq on record day in Europe

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A busy day in Dublin helped push the Iseq overall index up by almost 1 per cent with strong gains in AIB.

In London, although the FTSE was up on the day, it recorded its first week of losses in seven while Europe’s Stoxx 600 ended at its strongest level in 10 years.

In the US, American Express and IBM weighed on the Dow Jones while Nike and Philip Morris were the main drivers of the S&P.

Dublin
The Iseq index closed up just shy of 1 per cent after a relatively busy session.

The big mover on the last day of the trading week was AIB which, with more than 18.5 million shares traded, closed up 4.4 per cent at €5.69. Its main competitor, Bank of Ireland, followed suit and ended up 3.34 per cent at €8.05 although with six times fewer shares traded on the day.

In the UK, budget airline Easyjet received an analyst upgrade which appeared to help its Irish rival, Ryanair. Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers closed up 1.44 per cent in Dublin at €16.76.

Following news that the chairman of Independent News and Media will step down in March, shares in the newspaper group rallied and ultimately closed up by 4.17 per cent at 10 cent.

There was significant interest in Irish property companies on Friday with Glenveagh leading the downward charge, down by 1.19 per cent on the day, followed by Green Reit which fell by 0.5 per cent. Hibernia Reit and Ires Reit closed the day in the green, up 1.93 per cent and 0.55 per cent respectively.

London
While the FTSE 100 rose 0.4 per cent, it was down 0.8 per cent on the week, its first week of losses in seven.

Britain’s biggest flooring retailer, Carpetright sank to a record low, slumping 39 per cent after warning that profits would miss expectations.

Crematorium operator Dignity sank 50 per cent after warning on 2018 profit. A price battle forced it to cut funeral prices by about a quarter to preserve market share.

Among other notable movers, EasyJet rose to the top of the blue-chip index, up 4.7 per cent, after an upgrade from Morgan Stanley analysts citing consolidation in the short-haul airline industry and a strong euro-sterling exchange rate as supportive factors.

Europe
The euro zone’s Stoxx benchmark index closed up 0.73 per cent, its highest level in 10 years.

Stocks were higher across all sectors at the exception of energy, down 0.77 per cent, tracking a fall in crude prices.

The European Personal and Households goods index moved in the opposite direction, jumping 1.5 per cent with Adidas up 6.9 per cent and France’s SEB recording a 4 per cent rise.

The basic resources index, where big mining stocks are listed, rose 0.6 per cent as metals prices were buoyed by the first acceleration in China’s economic growth in seven years.

Software AG rose 1.7 per cent to its highest level in 18 years, supported by the prospect of a rise in 2018 earnings as a result of tax reforms in the United States.

New York
Philip Morris, Nike and Home Depot were the main drivers of the S&P, following positive brokerage recommendations on their stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down weighed down by IBM and American Express. IBM fell 3.75 per cent despite posting its first revenue rise in 23 quarters. The company warned that a higher tax rate this year would eat into its profit.

American Express slipped after the credit card issuer posted its first quarterly loss in 26 years and said it would not buy back shares for the next six months due to the impact of US tax reforms.

– Additional reporting: Reuters

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