Bad news from Europe hits trading
IRISH shares fell yesterday, as a poor Portuguese bond auction and other discouraging news from within the eurozone sparked widespread selling.
By the close of trading the ISEQ Overall Index had fallen 0.59pc, or 17.82 points, to reach 2,989.72.
The index spiked above 3,025 at the opening but was soon trending lower, and fell below 2,975 before something of a recovery.
Trading was hit by pessimistic news from Europe.
European Union leaders gathered in Brussels for their first summit of 2012 as a deteriorating economy and the struggle to complete a Greek debt write off risked sidetracking efforts to stamp out the financial crisis.
The yield on Portugal's 10-year bonds surged 217 basis points to a euro-era record of 17.39pc yesterday. Portuguese credit-default swaps also rose to a record, implying a 71pc chance the government will default.
Data points like those ensured most traders looked for the exit doors yesterday, with losses spread across a broad base of business sectors.
In percentage terms, Readymix was the big loser, slumping 5.26pc to close at 18c. The cement company rocketed a fortnight ago amid takeover speculation but has begun to trend down again since then.
Rare earths miner Kenmare Resources slid 4.17pc to 55c while construction giant CRH dropped 2.09pc to end Monday at €14.99.
There were some winners on the day with Aer Lingus in particular having a strong session. The former national carrier surged 9.49pc to 85c amid talks on the company's pension deficit which could allow a smoother takeover of the airline. That was well ahead of Ryanair, which still closed up 0.89pc.
The problems in Europe hobbled markets across the continent, with national benchmark indices falling in every western European market, except Greece and Iceland. The Stoxx Europe 600 retreated 1.1pc -- the most in six weeks.
"The outlook for economic growth in Europe in 2012 is not a healthy one and consensus forecasts for earnings-per-share growth likely do need to be adjusted downwards," said Ian Scott, the chief global strategist at Nomura in London. "Nevertheless, even a recession in the euro area, and very slow growth elsewhere, is unlikely to be sufficient to undermine the market if governments and central banks are able to stabilise sovereign spreads."
Lloyds fell 4.1pc while RBS, the biggest government-owned bank, dropped 3.5pc.
Aviva declined 3.8pc as a gauge of insurers was the third-worst performer in the Stoxx 600.