ISEQ inches towards 4,000 level

The ISEQ came close to reaching the psychologically important 4,000 mark for the first time in nearly five years this morning despite weaker manufacturing PMIs in Ireland and the rest of Europe.

By 12:30 the index was up 39.24 points to 3,997.51.

Irish manufacturing contracted for the first time in over a year in March, and the euro zone’s problems led to the sharpest contraction in new export orders since August 2009, a survey showed today. Confident of exiting its EU/IMF bailout on schedule at the end of 2013, Ireland has seen its economy expand for the last two years, but it contracted in the third quarter of 2012 and was flat in the fourth as weak external demand weighed on exports.

Meanwhile, two major house price reports, from and, are published this morning. The indices are based on different samples and can sometimes give conflicting results. However, this time out, the indices give broadly similar results. According to, asking prices fell by 7pc yoy in Q1, leaving the peak-to-trough decline at 55pc. suggest that prices were down by 10pc, while the peak-to-trough decline now stands at 52pc.

Figures released yesterday showed that annualised US construction spending increased by 1.2pc in February, broadly in line with consensus forecasts. Actual construction spending in February was up 6.9pc which compared to 6.4pc in January and 10.7pc in December. The residential sector remains the key driver of growth increasing by 20pc yoy (+18pc in January and December) while non-residential growth remained subdued at 1.3pc (1.2pc in January, 7pc in December). Growth in highways pulled back from 4pc in January to 1pc in February.

CRH shares climbed 10c to E17.32 and Grafton was up 5c to E5.16 while Kingspan dropped 10c to E9.50.