Investor jitters send ISEQ lower
Irish shares fell in line with stocks elsewhere in Europe as investors began to fret that recent gains were overdone.
In Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index slipped 17.5 points, or 0.5pc, to 3,463.99. The benchmark has fallen for the past few days but remains close to four-year highs.
Among the declines was Kerry Group, which slipped 1.5pc to €38.18. Among the gainers were Aer Lingus, which rose 2.6pc to close at €1.20, and Allied Irish Banks, which soared 13pc to six cent. Finance Minister Michael Noonan seemed to say last Friday that some sort of agreement, like the Bank of Ireland deal, was on the cards for the bank.
Rival Permanent TSB fell 14.6pc to 3.5 cent. House builder Abbey soared 2.3pc to €6.55 on hopes that demand for housing in the UK is rising.
European stocks declined for a third day as investors watched the US financial-reporting season amid concern that recent gains in share prices had overshot the earnings potential.
National benchmark indexes fell in 11 of the 18 western markets. The UK's FTSE 100 slid 0.2pc, while France's CAC 40 rose less than 0.1pc. Germany's DAX climbed 0.2pc.
TNT Express plunged 41pc after United Parcel Service abandoned its takeover bid. Electricite de France jumped the most in 13 months after France agreed to compensate EDF for the deficits from its mandatory public-service investments.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.4pc at the close in London, for the longest stretch of losses in four weeks. The equity benchmark dropped last week from a two-year high amid concern that quickening inflation in China would limit the scope for economic stimulus.
"Markets have made a lot of progress so far and, at the moment, valuations are possibly just looking a little bit stretched and waiting for a touch of guidance from the US earnings season," said Guy Foster, a fund analyst at Brewin Dolphin Securities in London.
Eurozone industrial production unexpectedly fell in November. Output dropped 0.3pc from October, when it declined a revised 1pc, the European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg said.
Post NV, which has an almost 30pc stake in TNT, tumbled 36pc. Imagination Technologies slumped 6.4pc after Goldman Sachs removed it from its"conviction-buy" list.
Cap Gemini jumped 2.5pc to the highest price since July 2011. Barclays upgraded its recommendation on the stock from overweight, a rating similar to buy, to equal weight. France's biggest computer-services company was added to the conviction-buy list at Goldman Sachs.
Swatch gained 4.2pc to close at the highest price since July 1993, after saying it is buying the Harry Winston watch and jewellery brand for $1bn (€750m).