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ISEQ lower on CRH profit taking

Wednesday, May 07 17:43:15

The ISEQ fell again today in line with the rest of Europe's markets and with CRH stocks leading the decline.

The index dipped 55.58 points to 4,848.80.

European shares fell and the dollar hovered above six-month lows against a basket of currencies on an overnight drop in U.S. tech stocks and on concerns over the deepening crisis in Ukraine.

Shares in CRH dipped 73c to E20.47. As expected CRH has reported a strong start to the year in Europe but faced more challenging markets in the US. Management is guiding first half EBITDA of E0.5bn and second half EBITDA to be somewhat ahead of last year's E1.08bn. Goodbody's forecasts are for H1 EBITDA of E494m (+24pc) and 13pc growth in H2. At first glance, we do not envisage making material changes to forecasts. In terms of the portfolio review, at the time of the results management noted that businesses equivalent to 70pc of assets were core, 20pc were under review and 10pc were going to be sold. Today it has announced that 80pc of the groups' net assets are in businesses that meet the management's strategic and financial criteria. "Today's statement gives us confidence that CRH is on course to return to earnings growth in the current year, in line with management and Goodbody expectations. This, coupled with potential upside from the portfolio review process, underpins our positive stance on the company. We reiterate our BUY recommendation with a PT of 2520c offering nearly 20pc upside from current levels," the broker said.

Aer Lingus passenger traffic for April shows a return to strong growth in long haul and a healthy rise in passenger numbers on its short haul network, as Easter helped support both passenger numbers and load factors. Overall mainline passenger numbers increased by 10pc yoy with long haul increasing by 32pc, and short haul growing by 7pc. Load factor for the mainline business improved by 7pts to 76pc with long haul up 8.6pts to 78pc, and short haul up 5.5pts to 74pc. Capacity for the month was up by 7pc with long haul up 22pc and short haul capacity flat. Aer Lingus Regional has continued its strong growth, with passenger traffic up 35pc to 112k. Including the Regional business, Group passenger volumes grew by 12pc. Aer Lingus shares were down 4c to E1.53.