ISEQ bounces back

The ISEQ regained much of the losses made in a two-day slump as investors took renewed courage and sought out bargains.

The index rose 80.02 points to 4,194.81.

European stocks rose, snapping a sharp two-day drop, as Vodafone’s renewed talks with Verizon sent the UK firm’s stock to a 12-year high and sparked a brisk rally in the telecom sector. Corporate results also returned to the forefront of investors’ minds, with Carrefour surging 5.2 percent after the world’s second biggest retailer posted a sharp improvement in earnings at its core French business.

At home, shares in Paddy Power climbed 171c to €61.54 after its interim results for the half year were released yesterday, precipitating a sharp fall that, in turn, saw bargain hunters descend today.

Elsewhere, shares in Irish Continental Group rose 8c to €24.50 after its revenues rose by 3.3pc to €120.9m in the first half of this year but pre-tax profits dipped by 10.8pc to €3.3m as a weaker British pound hit passenger numbers. However, a good Summer and lower fuel costs together with cost cutting measures helped lift operating profits by 30.6pc to €6.4m compared to the E4.9m recorded in the same period last year. ”This was a positive half years trading with increases in revenue and operating profit driven mainly by higher freight carryings and lower fuel costs, partially offset by weaker passenger markets. Summer trading has been encouraging across most business areas, with volume growth in passenger and freight offset by weaker sterling, which affects tourism yields,” said John B. McGuckian Chairman.

Shares in IFG fell 2c to €1.33. IFG’s interim operating profit and adjusted EPS of £5m and 3.55p are in line with analysts’ expectations. A maintained dividend reflects further planned investment in the UK business as the group sees a substantial growth opportunity over the medium term. The share’s prospects hinge on converting investment into earnings growth; in this respect, 2014 will be a key year, Davy said.