Wednesday 23 August 2017

Poor housing data forces index down

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

Irish shares fell yesterday as poor housing data from the US and the ongoing European sovereign debt issue hit major stocks, forcing the index lower.

By the close of trading, the ISEQ Overall Index was down 0.65pc, or 19.68 points, to close at 2,985.36.

The index fell at the opening, dropping below 3,000 almost immediately, and it never got close to recovering for the rest of the day.

CRH was the main casualty of the day, dropping 1.18pc to €15.89. Confidence among US homebuilders is lower than expected this month as executives turn more pessimistic on the outlook for sales -- a sign that any pick-up will take time to develop.

That news hit the construction giant, which carries out much of its business in the US.

A daily loss for the biggest company on the ISEQ is usually enough to drive the index lower and yesterday was no exception. That loss also served to push other construction-related stocks lower, with Kingspan falling 3.8pc to €6.85, while Readymix slipped 8.11pc to 17c.

Away from construction, commodity stocks had a difficult day, with Kenmare Resources (down 4.81pc), Dragon Oil (down 4.33pc) and Ormonde Mining (down 7.69pc) all struggling. Oil, gas, and most precious metals lost value yesterday.

Winners

Despite those losses, there were some winners on the day. Glanbia added 3.04pc, while sandwich-maker Greencore gained 1.72pc to reach €1.18.

Away from Ireland, most European stocks fell, dragging the Stoxx Europe 600 Index lower for a third day, as officials met in Brussels to discuss increasing Greece's bailout.

National benchmark indexes fell in 12 of the 18 western European markets.

Germany's DAX declined 0.2pc and France's CAC 40 lost 0.7pc. The UK's FTSE 100 slipped less than 0.1pc, while the Stoxx Europe 600 lost 0.1pc.

"There's nothing close to a resolution" for Europe's government debt crisis, Norval Loftus, the chief investment officer at Allegra Investment Management, said in London.

In London, Kingfisher, Britain's biggest home-improvement retailer, dropped 1.7pc. Wolseley, the world's largest supplier of heating and plumbing products, declined 1.9pc.

ITE Group sank 4.5pc for the biggest decline in the FTSE 350 Index. The events organiser said first-half pre-tax profit slid 38pc.

LSE, which runs the London Stock Exchange, jumped 6.8pc after a group of Canadian banks and pension funds made a rival offer for TMX Group.

Maple Group Acquisition offered a combination of cash and stock at a premium to TMX's current price.

LSE said the rival offer wasn't "formal", and it remained committed to its merger with TMX, the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Irish Independent

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