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ISEQ closes the week on a modest high

Friday, March 28 17:49:23

The ISEQ remained under the 5,000 mark today as investors took profits from recent gains and Irish retail sales disappointed but managed some gains as investors await action from the ECB.

The ISEQ was down 15.39 points to 4,952.96.

Retail sales figures disappointed this morning. The volume of retail sales in February decreased by 1.5pc when compared with January 2014 but there was an increase of 5.0pc in the annual figure, latest CSO figures show. If Motor Trades are excluded there was a decrease of 0.4pc in the volume of retail sales in Febuary 2014 when compared with January 2014 and there was an increase of 2.3pc in the annual figure.

Kingspan - the Cavan-based insulation materials group - has successfully extended the maturity of its existing E300m revolving credit facility by two years to March 2019. This extension has been agreed with revised, and more favourable, pricing on a drawn and undrawn basis. The facility which is currently undrawn will be used for general corporate purposes. All pre-existing syndicate members, comprising seven international and one domestic bank, are maintaining their capital allocations on the revised and extended terms. "One of the many appealing traits of Kingspan is the optionality its financial position offers. Net debt/EBITDA at end-2013 was below 0.7x and, as it is currently configured, the group is trending towards net cash. Kingspan is a growth business and is likely to seek to deploy its resources in expanding its operations. Consolidation of existing markets is one target; another is expansion into new territories," according to Davy Research this morning. Kingspan shares were up 5c at E13.95.

Davy says that SIPPs are set to remain at the core of the platform of IFG's key subsidiary, James Hay. "However, the expansion of its product range to offer a Modular ISA and a Modular GIA positions it as a broader retirement wealth planning operator at a time when platform market growth estimates have been raised significantly in view of the recent budget measures. Investment spend will continue, but an element of front-loading kept a lid on earnings in 2013 and paves the way for a rebound in 2014/2015. While leaving our estimates broadly intact at this juncture, we are raising our rating to 'Outperform'." IFG's shares rose 2c to E1.75.