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ISEQ set to close week at 5.5-year high

Friday, January 17 12:49:33

The ISEQ resumed its upward trajectory this morning, heading for a five and a half year high.

By 12:30, the index had gained 22.49 points to 4,829.14.

Moody's will deliver its scheduled review of Ireland's credit rating this evening but nobody should hold their breaths for an upgrade, despite the country's emergence from under the thumb of the Troika last month and the highly successful return to the sovereign debt market. "Although we believe that Ireland should be rated as investment grade by Moody's (the markets are thinking that too), a move to a positive outlook is likely to be best that the Irish sovereign can expect at this stage," said Goodbody Stockbrokers.

European shares edged up to fresh 5-1/2 year highs, with much stronger-than-expected UK retail sales reassuring about the strength of the region's economy and counterbalancing a profit warning by Shell. British retailers reported the fastest annual sales growth in more than nine years in December, with activity expanding at more than double the expected pace, which sent Sterling soaring.

Shares in Paddy Power fell 90c to E61.10. William Hill has released its Q4 and FY13 trading update this morning reporting EBITA of cú334m, +2pc ahead of our own and consensus estimates. All Q4 comps below are on a 12wk basis. In terms of Q4 trading, Online net revenue was +14pc yoy (lfl/13 wk basis) driven by a strong sport book performance. Amounts wagered were +38pc yoy; gross win margin was 8.1pc versus 8.4pc in Q412, with net revenue in sports +30pc yoy. Mobile remains strong with stakes +92pc yoy and a gross win margin of 9.7pc. Online gaming was +2pc yoy, or +4pc ex market exits which showed an improvement on Q3. Mobile gaming was +199pc yoy and 23pc of gaming revenue.

The latest pricing data from RISI for the German market in January points to mixed fortunes for testliner and kraftliner grades. "Smurfit Kappa remains our preferred play in the sector given its unwarranted valuation discount, strong FCF growth and integrated business model. The company reports FY13 results on February 12th in which corrugated and kraftliner pricing will be a key focus," said Goodbody's.