German sell-off prompts late slump
IRISH shares fell yesterday, as a late sell-off in Germany sparked a wider bout of dumping across Europe.
By the close of trading, the ISEQ Overall Index had lost 0.82pc, or 20.3 points, to close at 2,450. The index had spent most of the day in positive territory, gaining as much as 24 points, before falling back in the last two hours.
Kenmare Resources climbed 5.63pc to close at 51c after the company produced a strong set of interim results. The mining firm said its revenues for the first six months of the year rose by nearly 50pc year on year as prices for ilmenite and zircon rose by 30pc and 38pc respectively. Kenmare's results boosted mining stocks in general, with Ovoca Gold rising 5.88pc.
Most stocks fell, however, with Origin Enterprises handing back the gains achieved on Wednesday. The agri company closed down 5.71pc at €2.97.
Oil and gas companies had a difficult session after the price of oil continued its fall as the Libyan crisis neared resolution.
Petroceltic plunged 4.35pc, while Dragon Oil dropped 2.29pc. Tullow Oil fell 0.86pc a day after posting strong results.
Elsewhere, the late sell-off in Germany helped push European stocks down overall.
European stocks declined, snapping three days of gains, as Germany's DAX Index tumbled 4pc in 15 minutes amid speculation that regulators planned to impose further restrictions on equity markets.
National benchmark indices slid in all 18 western European markets, except Austria. Germany's DAX Index slid 1.7pc. France's CAC 40 Index lost 0.7pc and the UK's FTSE 100 Index retreated 1.4pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 lost 1.2pc.
Futures on the DAX plunged as much as 4.1pc as a cascade of trades pushed the volume in the contracts to a quarter of the daily average between 3.45pm and 4.15pm in Frankfurt.
"It looks like someone fears the update today from French and Spanish regulators will extend the short-selling ban," said Michael Scholz, of WestLB in Dusseldorf. "It was a strange move selling the DAX futures in 30 minutes. Someone may be preparing their portfolio for tomorrow."
A total of 50,000 contracts exchanged hands in the half-hour period.
Credit Agricole surged 4.8pc. The bank said second-quarter profit fell 11pc but was still in front of market expectations.
Premier Oil fell 9.7pc. The London-based oil explorer said it was concerned whether Sevan Marine could deliver a unit to start pumping crude at the UK's Huntington field in 2012.
Diageo added 4.7pc after the drinks firm said annual profit rose. International Power, the UK utility controlled by GDF Suez, rallied 2.5pc after JP Morgan lifted its recommendation on the shares to "overweight".