Friday, September 07 17:34:44
The ISEQ rose sharply for the second straight day today as investors cheered Mario Draghi's plan for the ECB to buy sovereign bonds in an effort to draw a line under the euro crisis.
The index was up 34.96 points to 3,261.90.
Global equities also rallied today. As had been anticipated, ECB President Mario Draghi revealed the details of the bank's unlimited bond-buying programme yesterday at the conclusion of its monthly meeting. The programme, to be known as Outright Monetary Transactions (OMTs), was largely unchanged from the one signalled at last month's meeting. There was one exception: the purchases of short-dated bonds will be sterilised by taking in deposits to offset the increase in the money supply - an obvious nod to the inflation hawks at the Bundesbank. Despite this, Bundesbank President Weidmann again voted against the plans, and was the single dissenting voice at yesterday's meeting.
Shares in CRH rose 36c to E14.80. Data from the US indicate that the volume of highway construction put-in-place in July was 2.8pc higher than the same month last year, leaving the year-to-date total broadly flat on 2011. Highway construction activity in the US has been impeded by the lack of certainty surrounding longer-term availability of federal funding. While a new two-year deal was agreed at the end of June, this has yet to be reflected in higher contract awards data. The volume of activity over the important summer months, however, appears to have picked up and it will be interesting to see if this continues through August and September. "For CRH, we are assuming flat asphalt volumes in H2. Asphalt is the main raw material used in highway construction in the US," said Davy's Barry Dixon.
P and O, which compete with ICG on the long sea routes on the Irish Sea (Dublin- Liverpool), announced yesterday a company-wide review of its entire business. According to the CEO Helen Deeble the review is due to "extremely tough trading conditions due to the state of the economy across Europe" and specific to ICG she noted "there has also been major competitor activity in the Irish Sea which has hit results hard". ICG shares rose 12c to E18.07.