Morning business news - December 24

Tuesday 24 December 2013 09.03
Morning business news - December 24
Morning business news - December 24

It's an early Santa Claus Rally this year - in New York the Dow and S&P 500 both climbed 0.5% to new records yesterday, while the Nasdaq jumped more than 1% to a new 13-year high. 

A Santa Claus Rally is the surge in the price of stocks that often happens in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. 

There are lots explanations for the Santa Claus Rally phenomenon; including tax considerations, happiness on Wall Street, and people investing their Christmas bonuses. 

Well this year investors were feeling much more confident after the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, said the IMF is much more upbeat about the US economic recovery. 

Meanwhile, a list put together by Justin Urquhart Stewart of Seven Investment Management  shows the US Nasdaq market in the top ten performers of 2013, with a year to date return of just over 33%. 

Ireland's stock exchange is also in the top ten, with growth of 35%. Other countries in the list include Zambia, Pakistan, Iceland, and topping the list - Venezuela - with a year to date return of 452%. 

“What you saw there (in Venezuela) was the fear after the death of Hugo Chavez, there was ludicrous growth based but it was not really based on anything” said Mr Urquhart Stewart. 

“But when you sit there and look at your own exchange, up 35%, that’s a remarkable turnaround”, he said.

“You look at all the ones people had written off for the year; whether it was Greece, Nigeria, Ireland, Zambia; those are fantastic returns overall.”

Mr Urquhart Stewart said the growth on the ISEQ represented greater economic confidence in the country, along with a rise in inward investment here.

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AIB has sold its Ark Life subsidiary to Guardian Assurance. The sum paid has not been disclosed but it's thought to be close to €350 million and is subject to regulatory clearance and early next year.
 
Ark Life manages assets of €4 billion and has 270,000 policies. AIB told said the disposal "follows the completion of a comprehensive auction sales process involving a number of international investors".
 
It said the "position of Ark Life policyholders remains unchanged" as a result of the deal.

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Shares in Apple jumped 3% after it signed a deal to supply its iPhone to China Mobile.

The Chinese firm is the world's biggest carrier and was one of three networks to be awarded China's first 4G licences earlier this month. 

Apple has been looking to boost its sales in China, the world's largest smartphone market, but has struggled amid growing competition from rivals. 

The latest deal is expected to help it increase its market share.