Greek concerns bring ISEQ down
IRISH shares fell, led lower by a variety of problems ranging from uncertainty over Greece to hedge funds taking short positions on heavyweights Aryzta and Grafton.
The benchmark ISEQ closed down 26.1 points, or 0.9pc, at 2896.13. Shares elsewhere in Europe fluctuated for most of the day as investors pondered the outcome of a meeting by European Union leaders to tackle problems in the Greek economy. National benchmark indexes rose in 10 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 added 0.6pc, while Germany's DAX dropped 0.6pc and France's CAC 40 lost 0.5pc. Greece's ASE Index was little changed.
Boundary Capital was among the biggest decliners, sliding 7.4pc to 3c after it said it continues to hold talks with its lenders. The investment vehicle told shareholders earlier in the week that an investment in department store Arnotts was almost valueless.
Aryzta fell 1.9pc to €27.30, while Grafton slipped 2.8pc to €2.48, as the number of short positions on the Swiss-based food maker and Dublin-based building materials company rose. Smurfit Kappa rose 1.5pc to €6.70, a day after it predicted "meaningful" growth in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation this year.
Greencore soared as much as 5pc during the day after the food company sold its malt unit for €116.5m but finally closed down half a cent at €1.33. Tullow Oil gained 2pc to €13.63 on hopes it is close to resolving the long-running question of who will join the oil company in Uganda where it hopes to buy out a partner.
Elsewhere in Europe, Rio Tinto led mining companies higher as earnings beat estimates and copper prices jumped the most in three months. Rolls-Royce rallied 6.5pc after the world's second-biggest maker of aircraft engines reported earnings that topped analysts' forecasts. Alcatel-Lucent slumped the most in 15 months after the world's biggest supplier of fixed-line phone networks lowered its profit-margin targets.
The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 0.3pc to 241.74, having fluctuated between gains and losses at least eight times during the day after European leaders met to talk about Greece.
"This situation was always going to be resolved," said Kevin Lilley at Royal London Asset Management. "It's a too-large-to-fail situation. However, until the short-term clouds clear it's difficult to see the market move ahead materially."
Roche Holding climbed 2pc after the Swiss drugmaker said results from five late-stage clinical trials show that its experimental diabetes drug taspoglutide reduced blood sugar levels when compared with, or added to, widely prescribed treatments.