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Light trading volumes on last business day of 2017

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Trading was light on the last business day of 2017, with a number of markets closing early ahead of the New Year holiday. Stocks ended the year ahead and the euro looked set to go out on a high against the dollar.

DUBLIN
AIB closed 1.46 per cent ahead at €5.50 at the end of a half-day session on the Dublin market on Friday. Its rival Bank of Ireland slid 1.68 per cent to €7.095. Dealers noted that there was a bit of activity in both stocks on the final day of trading in 2017.

House builder Cairn Homes was virtually flat, adding 0.26 per cent to €1.89. Insulation and construction materials specialist, Kingspan, shed 1.55 per cent to close at €36.405. Dealers said that a number of investors sold the stock yesterday.

Ryanair inched up 0.94 per cent to close at €15.05. Traders noted that the stock was staying above the €15-mark following turbulence before Christmas that saw the shares falling far below that level.

Building materials giant and index heavyweight, CRH, dipped 0.33 per cent to close at €29.955.

LONDON
The UK’s top share index hit a new record on the final trading day of 2017. At the end of a holiday-shortened session, the blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.9 per cent at 7,687.77 points, rallying into the close and hitting its highest level on record as shares in miners and financials rose.

Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton lifted 84p to 3,942p and 23p to 1,464p respectively, as rising copper prices drove up demand. Precious metal stocks were also in the ascendant after the price of gold rose by 2.45 US dollars an ounce to 1,296.43 US dollars. Mexican-based miner Fresnillo was among the biggest risers, climbing 39p to 1,429p, while Randgold Resources was up 150p to 7,410p.

Miners have been among the FTSE’s best-performing stocks this year, with Antofagasta up nearly 49 per cent and Glencore up 41.6 per cent year-to-date.

Elsewhere NMC Health has been the index’s best-performing stock, while a takeover has pushed Worldpay’s shares 57.8 per cent higher this year. This year the FTSE Index is up 7.6 per cent, very slightly underperforming a near-8 per cent gain for the pan-European STOXX 600.

Mid caps have fared well in 2017, up 14.7 per cent with miner Kaz Minerals and iron pellet producer Ferrexpo the biggest gainers, up around 150 per cent and 124 per cent respectively.

EUROPE
Oil’s revival from the biggest crash in a generation persisted, with prices set for a second annual gain. Brent for March settlement added 42 cents to $66.58 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The February contract expired Thursday, after rising 28 cents to $66.72. The benchmark for more than half the world’s oil has gained 17 per cent this year.

In stocks, German airline Lufthansa was down 1.29 per cent at €30.72. Italian cement maker, Buzzi, a rival of Ireland’s CRH, shed 2.22 per cent to close at €22.43.

NEW YORK
The dollar slipped against euro, which hit a three-month high of $1.1982 on Friday, up a quarter of a per cent on the day, has climbed almost 14 per cent against the dollar in 2017.

Investors’ fears that US president Donald Trump may not be able to push through his pro-growth, pro-inflation policies that have weakened the US currency.

Apple declined 0.7 per cent in early trade on Friday after issuing a rare apology for slowing older iPhones with flagging batteries.

Amazon slipped 0.55 per cent after President Donald Trump targeted the online retailer in a call for the country’s postal service to raise prices of shipments in order to recoup costs. Goldman Sachs also fell 0.6 per cent after the bank said its fourth-quarter earnings would take a $5-billion hit due to the new tax law, and mostly from repatriation tax.

Additional reporting: Reuters

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