Hangover creates gloom for banks
Published 15/09/2010 | 05:00
MONDAY'S jump in banking stocks was followed by a hangover yesterday as the country's lenders pared most of the gains posted in the session.
Bank of Ireland fell 4pc to 69c after Standard & Poor's (S&P) cut its outlook to "negative" from "stable" and warned that the lender faces "considerable challenges" restoring its credit profile as the Irish economy recovers slowly.
"Our view is that the Irish economy is likely to recover only quite slowly, with household finances remaining stretched, asset prices unlikely to start appreciating materially for a couple of years and credit demand remaining muted for many years," S&P said in a gloomy forecast.
Allied Irish Banks, fresh from celebrating the sale of its stake in Bank Zachodni, tumbled 4.6pc to 75c as ING Group said the bank "is not out of the woods yet", following the sale and is still "likely" to end up in majority state ownership.
Another stock feeling groggy yesterday was Norkom which tumbled 15.8pc to 80c, extending the previous session's 24 decline following a profit warning.
CRH was another loser, slipping 1.9pc to €13.20 after the building materials company was downgraded to "neutral" from "outperform" at Credit Suisse by equity analyst Harry Goad. His target price is €14 per share.
The ISEQ ended the session down 20.44 points, or 0.7pc, to 2795.04 points. Elsewhere in Europe, stocks were little changed with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index close to a four-month high, as better-than-estimated US retail sales offset a selloff in utilities and a slump in German investor confidence.
Stocks initially rallied after a government report showed sales at US retailers climbed in August for a second consecutive month. Separate figures from the ZEW Centre for European Economic Research showed German investor confidence fell more than economists forecast to a 19-month low in September.
In the UK inflation unexpectedly exceeded the government's 3pc limit for a sixth month in August; while a UK housing-market gauge fell more than economists expected in August to the lowest since May 2009, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
Electricity companies RWE and E.ON dropped after brokers downgraded Germany's largest utilities. Philips lost 3.9pc after the world's biggest lighting company set new financial targets for the next five years. Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica paced advancing shares amid takeover speculation.
ARM Holdings retreated 4pc after the company said a number of executives sold shares in the UK designer of semiconductors that power Apple's iPhone.
Ladbrokes dropped 1.2pc after Goldman Sachs downgraded its recommendation on the bookie to "sell" from "neutral."