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ISEQ flat as markets wait and see

Tuesday, December 10 17:36:26

The ISEQ remained flat today as global investors awaited an expected statement from the US Fed on when it will taper off its stimulus policy.

The index was up 1.85 points to 4,409.33.

European stocks inched higher but remained in a tight range as uncertainty over the timing of the U.S. Federal Reserve's expected reduction of its stimulus programme kept investors on edge.

CRH shares rose 9c to E17.67. Data released yesterday after the close of European markets by ARTBA (American Road Transportation Builders Association) shows that obligated highway funds continues to track ahead of last year. In November $1.85bn was obligated, +2pc yoy. This leaves the first two months of the fiscal year +14pc ahead of last year and at the highest level since 2009. Amongst the European building materials sector CRH has one of the largest exposures to the US highways segment, representing 50pc of its US operations.

Goodbody Stockbrokers said that the comment that the exodus of foreign banks from Ireland is generating market opportunities for AIB and BOI highlights one of the key drivers of a likely structural improvement in margins at the main banks. "In addition, the reference to improving demand at the agri-sector highlights an uptick of investment in that sector which should support premium growth for the likes of FBD, the number one player in the agri-sector for insurance," the broker said.

Shares in FBD rose 15c to E16.90.