Stock markets across Europe sank yesterday as a wave of poor economic data and continuing fears about Cyprus tested investor mettle.
German manufacturing fell unexpectedly this month, with a purchasing managers' index (PMI) sliding to 48.9 compared to an expectation among economists that it would read 50.5. Anything below 50 signals a contraction. In France, manufacturing output also fell more than had been anticipated.
"Investors have come back a bit on Cyprus and the immediate impact it may have on the broader eurozone and have concluded that Cyprus alone isn't enough to reignite a crisis," said Norman Villamin, who helps oversee $64bn (€49bn) as European chief investment officer at Coutts in Zurich.
"But we look at the approach being taken and think it's really making any future problems much more risky for eurozone policy makers to handle."
Analyst Ulrich Wortberg at Helaba Landesbank Hessen-Theuringen in Frankfurt described the German PMI result as "very unsatisfactory".
In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index, having been close to breaching the 4,000 mark on Wednesday, fell back yesterday. It shed 40.21 points, or 1.01pc, to close at 3,931.41.
Among the movers was builders provider Grafton Group. It added 2.8pc, or 13.5 cent, to finish at €4.97. It climbed on the back of new measures announced in the UK budget that aim to set aside cash to help people buy homes.
Insulation maker Kingspan, which generates much of its turnover and profit in the UK, added 1.6pc, or 15 cent, to €9.75.
Other shares on the move included Ryanair. Having climbed this week on the back of its deal to buy 175 aircraft from Boeing, the shares retreated 1.7pc, or nearly 11 cent to €6.05.
Bank of Ireland fell 1.2pc to 16.1 cent, while CRH declined 2.1pc in Dublin to €17.48.
National benchmark indices fell in all 18 western-European markets. France's CAC 40 slid 1.4pc, while the UK's FTSE 100 lost 0.7pc. Germany's DAX declined 0.9pc.
Software firm SAP dropped 2.1pc to €62.96 after Oracle reported sales and profit that missed analysts' estimates. Cap Gemini, France's biggest computer-services company, slid 3.9pc to €36.97.
European carmakers posted the worst performance of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600.
EON gained 4.2pc to €13.71 and RWE added 2.9pc to €29.73 after Germany's most powerful Social Democratic state leader called for the country's government to reduce the tax on electricity bills by 25pc.
Deutsche Bank rose 0.8pc to €32.70 after co-chief executive officer Anshu Jain said the bank's first-quarter revenue was in line with last year, while expenses would contribute positively.