Optimism on Ukraine lifts markets

Iseq dominated by news that Fyffes’ merger with Chiquita likely to dissolve

Very tentative optimism that tensions between Russia and Ukraine could be easing lifted markets yesterday, with trade already buoyed by a positive US close on Friday evening. Domestically, the Iseq was dominated by news that Fyffes' planned merger with Chiquita is likely to dissolve after the US company received a cash offer from Florida-based juice maker Cutrale Group and Brazilian investment firm Safra Group.

DUBLIN The Iseq stemmed its recent losing streak, buoyed by strong performances from heavyweight CRH and airlines Aer Lingus and Ryanair. These balanced against a drop of 14.11 per cent in banana company Fyffes, which struggled after the unexpected bid for its would-be partner Chiquita emerged. Some 10 million shares changed hands in the group as shares closed 15.1 cent lower at 91.9 cent.

Elsewhere, the boost from Aer Lingus came on the back of an upgrade from Goldman Sachs, with shares in the airline finishing 8 cent stronger at €1.35. Ryanair rose along with European aviation peers, ending the session 18.1 cent higher at €6.759. CRH climbed by 24 cent to €17.05.

Green Reit was fairly busy as it fell by 1 cent to €1.21, while stablemate Hibernia Reit added 0.5 cent to reach €1.055. Ires Reit dropped by 2 cent to €1.028.

Petroceltic was flat at €1.98 after saying it was suspending its operations with Hess in Iraq as a precautionary measure. LONDON UK stocks advanced, with the FTSE 100 Index rebounding from its lowest level since April, on the back of the reports that Russian troops ended military exercises near Ukraine.


The FTSE 100 Index rose 65.46 points, or 1 per cent, to 6,632.82 at the close, having fallen by 1.7 per cent last week. The broader FTSE All-Share Index added 1.1 per cent yesterday. Balfour Beatty climbed 2.5 per cent to 243 pence. The builder rejected Carillion's latest merger proposal, saying it could undermine the company's aim to sell its New York-based Parsons Brinckerhoff division.

Carillion rose by 1 per cent to 324 pence. ITV added 2.3 per cent to close ar 206.5 pence as Goldman Sachs said the likelihood of a bid for the media company has increased. UPC owner Liberty Global, which last month bought 6.4 per cent of ITV from Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB, could acquire ITV with a partner or take a larger stake in the company to block rival bids, Goldman analysts said. EUROPE European stocks rose the most in more than three months on the developments in Ukraine.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rallied 1.4 per cent to 329.36 at the close as more than 15 stocks climbed for every one that dropped. All 19 industry groups in the index advanced. The equity benchmark fell 2.1 per cent last week amid crises in Iraq, Ukraine and the Gaza Strip.

France’s Cac 40 rallied 1.2 per cent, while Germany’s Dax jumped 1.9 per cent.

Banco Popolare soared 8.2 per cent to €10.90 after reporting a second-quarter profit of €25 million. Analysts had predicted a loss of €12.8 million.

A gauge of auto-related companies increased 2.4 per cent. BMW, the world's biggest maker of luxury vehicles, rose by 2.8 per cent to €88.83, while Daimler rose 2.4 per cent to €60.71. PSA Peugeot Citroen advanced 2.6 per cent to €10.20. NEW YORK US stocks rose, as the Standard and Poor's 500 Index added 0.3 per cent to 1,936.92.

“There is some sense that geopolitical risk out there is waning, or at least the situation is better than the belligerent talk that was coming out in middle of last week,” Bill Schultz, chief investment officer at McQueen, Ball and Associates in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, said.

MannKind surged 4.3 per cent after Sanofi agreed to pay the drugmaker as much as $925 million for rights to the world's only available inhaled insulin. Kinder Morgan rallied 9 per cent after announcing plans to consolidate its energy businesses. – (Additional reporting, Bloomberg)

Úna McCaffrey

Úna McCaffrey

Úna McCaffrey is an Assistant Business Editor at The Irish Times