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ISEQ closes lower amid profit taking

Wednesday, February 26 17:37:25

The ISEQ rally of the past three days ended today as investors pocketed gains and as European shares fell steadily.

The ISEQ dipped 47.04 points to 5,103.62.

A drop in the shares of Swiss banks Credit Suisse and UBS weighed on European equities, stalling the advance of a major regional index to near 6-year highs. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down by 0.3 percent at 1,347.59 points in mid-session trading, retreating after a strong run in February which had taken it close to its highest level since May 2008.

CRH shares fell 49c to E21.33 after yesterday's rally on profit taking. Its peer, Holcim, today produced Q4 results that were slightly below forecast with the outlook for growth in all of its markets in 2014 positive, according to Davy. "This, combined with an on-going contribution from the Holcim Leadership Journey, will drive decent organic profit growth in 2014. While we will get a better sense of pricing trends in the conference call later, the prospects are positive and Holcim remains one of our top picks in the sector," the broker said.

C and C shares fell 3c to E4.75. Boston Beer reported Q4 and FY13 results yesterday evening. Separately, ABInBev reported its Q4 results this morning. Its revenue globally increased by 4.6pc driven by improved pricing per hectolitre because of an improved product mix. Globally volumes declined by 1.7pc. There was no relevant commentary relating to cider, though the overall market background in Europe remains difficult. "The key take-away from the Boston Beer results yesterday was its increased commitment to its Angry Orchard cider brand with increased advertising. This is likely to help to keep its growth rates well above the industry average and provide stiff competition for C and C's brands in the US," said Goodbody Stockbrokers.