Tuesday, August 27 17:36:30
The ISEQ fell in line with global markets today as the US and its allies prepared to target Syria following the poison gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians.
The index fell 86.76 points to 4,138.09.
The possibility of Western military action against the Syrian government hit equities worldwide, while boosting demand for safe-haven assets like the yen and gold.
Wall Street fell for a second day, with the S and P 500 and Nasdaq off more than 1 percent, and a rise in U.S. government debt prices suggested the flight to safety was gathering momentum. The 10-year Treasury note rose 9/32 in price, its yield easing to 2.75 percent from 2.79 percent late on Monday.
FBD shares fell 90c to E15.50 after it reported pre-tax profits of E19.1m for the six months to the end of June, down from the E21.8m the same time last year. The company said the fall in profits was expected and was due to reduced returns in global investment markets and a number of above average claims early in the reporting period. FBD said its interim dividend for the six months rose by 29pc to 15.75 cent. It also reaffirmed its full year operating earnings per share guidance at between 145 and 155 cent per share. Andrew Langford, the company's chief executive, said the results are ''excellent'' given the difficult economic conditions. ''Key strategic initiatives delivered an increase in premium and customer numbers in an insurance market that continued to contract, resulting in further growth in FBD's market share,'' he added. "The outlook statement is positive. FBD expects to continue to outperform the market and although operating earnings of 63c are down on H1 2012's 74c and below our forecast 69.8c, the group has reiterated its FY guidance of operating EPS of 145-155c. We will review our forecasts (FY operating EPS of 156.6c) after this morning's briefing but do not anticipate any significant change," said Davy Stockbrokers.
Continued weakness in the advertising markets in both Ireland and the UK saw first half revenues at Belfast-based UTV Media fall 10pc, interim results showed today. The six months to the end of June saw Group revenue of £55.2m compared to the £61.6m recorded in the same period in 2012 while pre-tax profits came in at £6.1m compared to £10.7m previously. Group operating profit fell to £7.8m from the £12.4m recorded a year earlier while net debt of £50.2m was almost unchanged. However, the company said today that trading challenges of the first half have eased in the second half of the year. Its Dublin-listed shares remained flat at E1.80.