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ISEQ flat despite Fitch rating news

Friday, February 21 12:44:51

The ISEQ remained largely unmoved this morning despite a reaffirmation of Ireland's sovereign rating from Fitch and a pat on the back from the agency for the country's progress.

By 12:30, the ISEQ was up 2.67 points to 4,988.95.

Global ratings agency, Fitch, today affirmed Ireland's credit rating at 'BBB+' with Stable Outlook saying that the country is on the path to recovery but that our debt burden remains heavy. It said that the affirmation reflects the following factors: Ireland successfully completed its three-year bailout programme in December 2013. All quarterly fiscal targets of the Troika (EU, ECB, IMF) programme have been met, underpinned by strong policy commitment, it added. "Parallel with fiscal consolidation, Ireland has returned to market financing and has built up cash buffers equivalent of 13pc of GDP by end-January 2014, including E3.75bn from a 10-year bond sale in January 2014."

A joint venture owned by Green REIT and Pacific Investment Management Company entity LVS II CP Investor has exchanged contracts to buy the Dublin Central Park portfolio of real estate assets for E315m. The purchase is from receivers appointed by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) and Devano Developments Limited with completion expected next month. "While its portfolio is ultimately likely to be circa 60pc weighted towards the office sector, it so happened that Hibernia REIT's first investment was mostly residential-based. This is in its own right an increasingly attractive end-market. Further analysis of the assets acquired would suggest that there is good potential for shareholder valuation creation. Given the product pipeline and liquidity, it should not be too long before Hibernia REIT makes its first significant purchase of office assets," said Davy Stockbrokers. Green REIT's shares rose 1c to E1.25.

Independent News and Media shares were flat at E0.15. Newspaper circulation volumes continue to decline and unsurprisingly, the most recent data release from ABC contains little to get excited about. However, from an INM perspective, the declines are in line with forecasts. "We expect newspaper circulation to remain pressured as consumers shift from print to online, and our forecasts therefore assume that volumes continue to decline for the foreseeable future. The biggest question is the extent to which INM can successfully grow an earnings-generating online business of sufficient scale to offset current and future volume declines," said Davy.