Ryanair results spark slide
IRISH stocks fell, led lower by Ryanair as the airline posted second-quarter results that came in below analysts' expectations and renewed concerns about the Irish economy.
The ISEQ benchmark ended the day down 6.65 points, or 0.3pc, at 2677.6. Ryanair slipped 3.8pc to €3.97 as Europe's biggest discount airline reported earnings that missed analysts' projections.
The company had a second-quarter after-tax profit of €330.3m, compared with the €343m average estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The outlook for the rest of the year remains cautious but profit will probably be higher than previously forecast, the airline added. Aer Lingus dropped 3.4pc to €1.11.
The day's biggest gainer was Providence Resources, which soared 17pc to €2.40 days after the Ireland-focused oil explorer said it had offered a petroleum exploration licence over Northern Ireland's Rathlin Island.
Shares in Allied Irish Bank (AIB) inched up 0.9pc to 34c after AIB's new executive chairman, David Hodgkinson, told shareholders the bank's problems were difficult but could be overcome. Shareholders, meanwhile, approved the sale of the bank's 22pc holding in US lender M&T in order to raise about €1bn.
Irish bonds declined, sending the yield on the 10-year security 22 basis points higher to 7.14pc. Ireland and Greece led a surge in the cost of insuring European sovereign debt from default on concern bondholders will be forced to share the cost of future government bailouts. Credit-default swaps on Ireland, another measure of how investors see Ireland, jumped 22 basis points to 495.5 -- surpassing the September 27 record closing price, said data provider CMA.
Elsewhere in Europe, things were less gloomy, with shares rising after manufacturing in China and the US expanded more than forecast.
Portugal, another country battered in recent months, saw its stock exchange rise 0.5pc after the government and the biggest opposition party agreed to pass deficit-reduction measures. Jeronimo Martins, the nation's biggest retailer, surged 4.7pc. Brisa-Auto Estradas de Portugal, the country's largest toll-road operator, advanced 3.7pc.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.2pc by the close of trading in London, as three stocks advanced for every two that declined. The gauge climbed 2.4pc last month on speculation the US Federal Reserve will unveil another round of bond purchases to boost growth -- a tactic known as quantitative easing.
National benchmark indexes climbed in 11 of the 16 western European markets that were open. The UK's FTSE 100 advanced 0.3pc, France's CAC 40 gained 0.2pc and Germany's DAX was little changed.