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ISEQ closes the week on a low point

Friday, March 14 17:38:59

The ISEQ fell sharply today in line with a broad sell-off across Europe as tensions mounted in Ukraine ahead of a vote on accession.

By 12:30, the index was down 90.15 points to 4,875.37.

European shares fell, extending their pull-back as tensions in Ukraine before a weekend referendum in the Crimea peninsula unnerved investors. Russia launched new military exercises near its border with Ukraine on Thursday, even as Washington cautioned that Moscow risked facing serious consequences if annexation was the outcome of the planned Crimea referendum. "The geopolitical risks are back at the forefront of investors' minds," said Jeanne Asseraf-Bitton, head of global cross-asset research at Lyxor Asset Management, which has $110 billion under management. "On the longer term, with stocks more or less at fair value now and the multi-month market rally losing steam, hedge fund strategies are thriving. Short-selling books are making good money again."

At home, shares in Aer Lingus fell 1c to E1.65 after it said it is suing Siptu over the threatened strike today that was only averted by a court injunction.

ARYZTA's shares plunged 136c to E58.70. ARYZTA's recent acquisitions of Canada-based Pineridge Bakery and US-based Cloverhill Bakery represent its second $1bn transaction with minimal elaboration and little meaningful data. "Once again, we (no less than others) must make our own sense of the deal and construct a narrative that we hope approximates reality. At face value, an estimated EBITA multiple of some 14x for the two businesses acquired (an estimated 15x-plus in the case of Cloverhill) does not seem cheap. But even if we have no evidence, we do believe that management could demonstrate that it represents value and that the group result will be enhanced as guided. Management has long been successful as regards adaptation, sector consolidation and synergy benefits. Whatever our misgivings about lack of revealed insight into objectives, strategy and operations, we remain convinced of this," said Davy Research.