ISE falls on construction gloom
IRISH shares slipped back yesterday, as poor economic data and losses among major stocks drove the index south.
By the close, the ISEQ Overall Index was off 1.16pc, or 34.39 points, at 2,930.73. The index lost ground early and kept falling. Research from Ulster Bank showed the construction sector contracted again last month -- the 46th month in a row -- with firms continuing to cut staff.
That data spooked traders early on, but the news that the International Monetary Fund had reduced its growth forecast for Ireland, to only half of 1pc, ensured that there would be no late rally.
Construction giant CRH fell 2.35pc to €16.20 on the back of the lower building data. Other construction stocks on the ISEQ came down with it; Kingspan fell 1.54pc to €6.40, while Grafton slipped 1.91pc to €3.39.
The banks had another difficult day in anticipation of their annual results.
Allied Irish Banks dropped 10.71pc to 25c a day before it releases its financials, while Bank of Ireland plunged 9.8pc to 27c. The firm reports earnings on Thursday.
Few stocks ended the day in positive territory on a tough day for the market but, as has been the habit over the last few weeks, commodity stocks had a strong session.
Oil and gas explorer Providence Resources added 2.58pc to €3.18, while miner Kenmare Resources rose 1.58pc.
Elsewhere, European stocks declined, dragging the Stoxx Europe 600 Index from a one-month high, as car-makers and construction companies fell before the start of the US earnings-reporting season.
National benchmark indexes dropped in 16 out of 18 western European markets.
The UK's FTSE 100 slipped less than 0.1pc, while France's CAC 40 dropped 0.6pc and Germany's DAX slid 0.2pc. The benchmark Stoxx 600 fell 0.2pc.
"There is a real battle taking place in investors' minds at the moment," said Henk Potts, a London-based equity strategist at Barclays Wealth.
"There is the potential to be distracted by macro events whether natural disasters or political unrest against a still pretty bright corporate picture."
Daimler dropped 2.7pc in Frankfurt after Credit Suisse lowered its recommendation for the world's largest maker of commercial vehicles to "neutral" from "outperform" and cut its share price estimate by 13pc.
In London, Barclays gained 2.8pc and Royal Bank of Scotland increased 2.3pc as the ICB recommended the UK's biggest banks should hold core Tier 1 capital levels of about 10pc, implement "credible" resolution plans and ring-fence consumer units.
The commission stopped short of seeking a full break-up of retail and investment banking businesses, according to its interim report.