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ISEQ slides ahead of US jobs data
Friday, 4th May 2012 01.02pm

The ISEQ fell sharply this morning ahead of key jobs data from the US and ahead of crucial elections in France and Greece this weekend.

By 12:45, the ISEQ was down 33.38 points to 3,219.15.

Europe's top share index extended losses in midday trade as weak euro zone economic data, did little to boost risk appetite among investors ahead of U.S. jobs numbers and elections in France and Greece over the weekend.

At home, shares in Smurfit Kappa climbed 5c to E6.45 after it reported first quarter results with EBITDA of E246m, well ahead of brokers' forecasts of E226m and consensus of E222m. The EBITDA performance is up E3m on Q1 2011 and E1m on Q4. The better-than-expected performance in the quarter resulted from better European corrugated box volumes, which were flat in the quarter compared with Davy's forecast of a 1pc sequential decline. Corrugated pricing was also better than expected, declining by 2pc compared with the broker's forecast of a 3pc decline. EBITDA margins of 13.5pc were well ahead of its 13.1pc forecast.

Independent News and Media's shares fell 2c to E0.30 after Ireland's wealthiest businessman, Denis O'Brien, increased his stake in Independent News and Media to 27.95pc after buying more shares. An official notification to the Irish Stock Exchange this morning confirmed that he had bought 27.5 million shares in the company yesterday.

The April traffic seasons continues Aer Lingus and easyJet reporting traffic numbers (May 4th). EasyJet has reported strong growth with 8.6pc passenger growth and loads up 2.8pp to 89.3pc. Aer Lingus has reported a load factor increase of 2.8 points, with a short-haul load factor increase of 1.4 points on capacity decreasing 1.1pc, and long-haul loads up 5.6 points with capacity in line with April 2011. Meanwhile, Aer Lingus has appointed a Chief Technology Officer to deliver innovative technology solutions "to enhance the customer experience, drive commercial opportunities and support ongoing cost reduction in Aer Lingus". Aer Lingus shares rose 1c to E1.00.

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