Markets post year losses despite recent share gains
TRADING was light in international markets for the last session before the Christmas break.
In the money markets, the euro weakened against the dollar on news that economic growth in France has slowed faster than previously estimated. The euro slipped to just a fraction over US$1.30.
There was better news in the commodity markets. Crude oil climbed for a fifth day in New York, the longest stretch of gains since early November.
In Europe, rising oil prices pushed BP up 2.1pc to 459.70p, and Total up 2.1pc to €38.64.
Gold fell for a third straight day. Rising oil prices are seen as bet on economic growth occuring where gold is regarded as a pessimistic investment. ,
In Dublin trading on the ISEQ index of Irish shares closed early for the holidays.
The ISEQ finished the short session up 1pc at 2,866.
The big movers were Grafton Group up 4pc to €2.47, Kenmare up 3.7pc to 54c a share and Smurfit Kappa down 2.5pc to €4.68. CRH gained 1.7pc to €14.96, buoyed up by strong economic data out of the US.
US durable-goods orders and new home sales increased, reinforcing optimism that the recovery in the world's largest economy is gathering strength.
Ireland was in line with the European trend. European stocks rose across Europe yesterday, capping the first weekly rally since the start of the month.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose just under 1pc to 241.83 at the close in London, capping a 3.5pc rise for the week
The gains were not enough to reverse what has been a tough year for the markets.
Despite this week's rally, the Stoxx 600 is down 12pc this year.
Banks and commodity companies have posted the largest declines among 19 industry groups on the gauge, both slumping more than 30pc.
Across Europe, pipe maker Wavin was the big mover, gaining 22pc €9.58 per share after it allowed bidder Mexichem carry out due diligence. The Latin American chemical producer increased its bid for Wavin to €10 a share.
In the US the S&P 500 was up 0.6pc to 1,261.68. It's just high enough to erase the year's earlier losses amid further signs of strength in the world's largest economy.
(Additional reporting Bloomberg)