ISEQ caught up in global uncertainty
Published 29/10/2010 | 05:00
The Irish stock market was caught up in the uncertain atmosphere surrounding global equity markets yesterday, with the ISEQ barely moving when trading came to a halt.
Markets are pre-occupied by the US economy which remains sluggish and fragile, with observers all watching to see if Fed chief Ben Bernanke will order a fresh round of quantitive easing in early November.
Irish financials remain weighed down by concerns over their funding, with Anglo's confrontation with subordinated bondholders making some holders of other debts in the Irish banks nervous.
Credit default swaps showed that concerns over funding at present at the other Irish banks, even though the Government has indicated that senior bonds are in no danger of facing any kind of discount or haircut.
Despite this there are concerns over how solid the deposits are at some Irish banks, with Anglo chairman Alan Dukes make it clear that his institution is dealing with a "difficult" funding situation.
Traders report that many buyers are trading Irish bank debt rather than Irish bank shares and this is reducing the turnover on the market.
The main problem though is the sheer level of uncertainty globally. "There are too many uncertainties out there and that gets people worried," said Peter Jankovskis, a US trader.
"On the corporate earnings front, numbers have been good but it's time to get ready for the end of easy comparisons. The market has had a nice run and some investors decided to take some profits before we have more clarity."
However, stocks in Europe overall did gain by 0.4pc as European confidence in the economic outlook improved more than forecast in October.
Speculation that Greece may default as the country struggles to rein in its budget gap has heightened concern that the so-called peripheral countries with Europe's biggest deficits will struggle to contain their debt burdens.
The ISEQ was down 0.1pc, or 2.86 points, as the financials dragged the index down. Financials were down 4.5pc with AIB dropping over 5pc to 34 cents. Bank funding remains difficult for the entire sector, even though Bank of Ireland did manage to get a large bond away this week, albeit at an elevated price.
The ISEQ began the year on hopes of recovery, but due to the financials and softness at CRH, the index is trading near 12-month lows at 2,683.
The Budget scheduled for December may give the index some lift, but the problems at AIB are a major part of the problems.
The lack of commodity stocks -- Tullow aside -- is not helping the Dublin market to make gains. Unlike Ireland, the UK market is getting support from commodity stocks which are performing well.
Yesterday, UK stocks rose for the first time in three days as higher metals prices and a weaker US dollar boosted raw-materials companies.
The benchmark FTSE 100 Index advanced 31.87, or 0.6pc, to 5,677.89 at the close in London.