Thursday 21 September 2017

Greek debt crisis fears pull shares 2pc lower

More disappointing news as CSO figures reveal downturn is hitting export sector

Siobhan Creaton

Shares in Dublin were weaker yesterday following the major European markets lower as continuing fears about the Greek debt crisis continued to spook investors.

In Dublin, the market closed 2pc lower with CRH and Kerry providing most of the trading action. CRH shares lost 33c to end the day at €11.41 -- a drop of almost 3pc amidst the negative sentiment.

Investors will be hoping the company can benefit from increased spending on the US highways after a senate transport committee agreed to keep funding at current levels.

Trading in Kerry picked up as the company bought back its own shares, sending the price 1pc higher on the day. Glanbia joined most other stocks in negative territory as sentiment in the dairy sector softened on signs that milk prices may have peaked.

The latest Fonterra Global Dairy Trade event is seen as the barometer for milk prices and the latest index fell 2.1pc and affected dairy companies.

In terms of corporate news, Dragon Oil announced that its latest development well in Turkmenistan had flowed at an initial rate of 2,223 barrels a day and had been added to the company's development programme there for this year.

There was some disappointing news on the economic front with new figures from the Central Statistics Office signalling that Ireland's booming export sector might be feeling the brunt of the global economic downturn.

Figures for the month of July showed a 10pc decline in exports, although analysts say that monthly figures could be erratic and didn't necessarily show a markedly lower trend.

But it was Greece's ongoing problems and the lack of political solutions that depressed stocks across Europe.

The EU is now preparing to send a full mission of officials from the Troika to Athens next week after making what it described as "good progress" with the country's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

Crisis

The debt crisis had generated as much as €300bn in credit risk for European banks, the IMF said, and this was weighing heavily on the sector.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index sank 1.7pc to 225.33 in London, its fifth successive decline.

The index has fallen 23pc from this year's peak in February amid concern the global economic recovery is at risk.

"There is still nervousness in the market," said Heinz-Gerd Sonnenschein, an equity strategist at Deutsche Postbank AG in Bonn.

"There's fear about what will come out of the FOMC (US Federal Reserve) meeting and about what's coming up with Greece. The Greek problems will need time to be solved.

"We still have a long and difficult way to go."

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