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ISEQ rally ends on profit taking

Tuesday, January 14 12:38:12

A rally that saw the ISEQ climb by well over 100 points in a little over a week came to an end this morning as investors pocketed gains and as global shares were dented by corporate earnings worries.

By 12:30, the index was down 40.98 points to 4,750.78.

Global shares fell as weak earnings pre-announcements in the United States fuelled worries that the upcoming reporting season may disappoint, leaving some indexes looking expensive after a bumper 2013. All major European stock indexes fell after a batch of U.S. companies posted weak earnings or forecasts on Monday. Underscoring concerns, JPMorgan Chase reported lower-than-expected earnings per share on Tuesday, sending its shares slightly lower in pre-market trade.

Shares in Dragon Oil fell 3c to E6.84 after it said it is on course to meet its target of 100,000 barrels of oil per day. It said it grew cash reserves to USD1.9bn in 2013, up from USD1.7bn, and its production growth targets remain "in sight". Working towards a 100,000 barrel per day target next year, the oil firm completed ten new wells in 2013 and it is now ramping up development drilling by adding new drill rigs - four are set to be operating within the Cheleken contract area. Last year daily production grew by 9.1pc to average 73,750 barrels per day, and the exit rate for December was 74,812 barrels per day. Dragon Oil plans to grow production by between 10 and 15pc in 2014, by drilling 14 to 16 new wells.

In its latest monthly update on the European Paper and Packaging market RISI is optimistic on the prospects for containerboard pricing and corrugated volumes in 2014. Having declined by 1pc in 2013, RISI expects corrugated volumes to increase by 1.3pc in 2014 broadly in line with Goodbody's assumption of 1.5pc, which is second half weighted. "It is encouraging that RISI remains positive on the pricing backdrop in Europe particularly the recovery in recent softness for kraftliner prices. This provides a solid platform for corrugators to increase box prices and therefore grow margins in 2014. Smurfit Kappa remains our favoured pick given its unjustified valuation discount and strong earnings and FCF growth," said Goodbody Stockbrokers. Shares in Smurfit Kappa fell 3c to E18.16.