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ISEQ's best rally in years broken today

Friday, January 10 17:37:54

The ISEQ's best rally since the current crisis began came to a close this afternoon as investors pocketed gains.

The index rose 13.55 points to 4,758.99.

The European Commission's Irish consumer confidence measure rose to 10.1 in December, its highest level since 2000. The British Retail Consortium reported that total retail sales rose 1.8pc in the year to December. This suggests that aggregate spending remains relatively robust, and that recent poor results from high street names reflect competition from online sales and discounters, according to Davy.

Euro zone periphery shares sustained their blistering rally although uncertainty over impending U.S. jobs data cooled the bloc's bonds and imposed caution on most other markets. Although many investors were happy to bide their time before U.S. payrolls figures, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese stocks all pursued this year's rapid gains.

At home, shares in drinks group, C and C, rose 3c to E4.28 ahead of the release of a trading update next week. The update will cover the trading period from September 1st, 2013. C and C's last update to the market was on October 30th when it presented its interim results (six months to August 31st). Davy's operating profit expectations for the current FY (ending February 2014) is E127.1m, broadly in line with consensus, which is towards the lower range of company guidance of E125-132m. C and C is nearing the end of its transition phase. In the key domestic markets of Ireland and Scotland, profit momentum is solid while the platform evolves towards multi-beverage. "Ultimately, this will strengthen the group's franchise in both markets. In the US, integration efforts are nearing completion but have caused a greater level of disruption than originally envisaged. Recent off-trade data for the Woodchuck brand family points to a deterioration in trend. The Cider UK division remains challenged with C and C's main brand, Magners, continuing to underperform the cider category. Putting all the moving parts together, the top end of the guidance range may have to be lowered to reflect the operating dynamic in the respective markets," the broker said.

The UK Builders Merchants Federation's (BMF) monthly sales figures (adjusted for price inflation and trading day differences) provide an insight into the health of the building distribution sector, especially the independents. After a weak start to 2013, a clear improving trend is evident. We expect this trend to continue during 2014 as housing transactions in the UK normalise. Travis Perkins and Grafton offer the best exposure to the recovering UK RMI sector. Shares in Kingspan fell 4c to E13.96.