Share values hit by negative data
IRISH shares fell back yesterday as a range of negative data weighed on the market.
By the close, the ISEQ Overall Index was down 1.08pc, or 31.81 points, at 2,902.42, handing back Wednesday's gains.
The vast majority of stocks finished the day in the red and even a gain by the biggest stock on the index was not enough to push it back into positive territory.
Elan was the big loser on the day, slumping 5.46pc to €5.04 after the pharmaceuticals giant was downgraded by UBS and added to the bank's "least-preferred" list of stocks.
It was not alone, however. The airlines had a tough day after it was revealed that Irish flights fell by 3pc last year and are now at 2004 levels.
Ryanair fell 3.05pc to €3.81, while Aer Lingus took an even worse dive, dropping 4pc to close at €1.08.
Sandwich-maker Greencore fell again, this time losing 1.2pc to close at €1.32, amid ongoing doubts about the company's bid to complete a merger with Northern Foods in the UK.
The banks had a mixed day, with Bank of Ireland adding 0.56pc and Irish Life and Permanent ending the day flat.
Allied Irish Banks, however, dropped 1.63pc to 30c after announcing that it was seeking to buy back debt at a 70pc discount.
Those losses ensured that the ISEQ would end the day in the red. Nevertheless, there were some winners.
CRH shook off poor data from the US to add 0.99pc, closing at €14.79, while Irish Continental Group jumped 4.63pc to close at €17.06.
Glanbia closed the day flat, despite having its target price increased to €4.25 by NCB Stockbrokers.
Around Europe, stocks declined from a 28-month high. An increase in the number of new claimants for unemployment benefit in the US was larger than had been anticipated.
This news overshadowed gains by banks after both Spain and Italy sold bonds.
France's CAC 40 added 0.7pc, while Germany's Dax index added 0.1pc. The UK's FTSE 100 lost 0.4pc, while the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.6pc.
"The market is taking a breather," said Philipp Musil at Semper Constantia Privatbank in Vienna.
"We had a good performance in the last two days, but I don't know if we can hold that. We expect a healthy downturn of 3pc-5pc in the coming days."
In London, Tesco lost 4.3pc after poor sales data, while Dixons lost 10pc. The latter said total sales in sterling for the 12 weeks ended January 8 fell 2pc.
British American Tobacco declined 3.6pc as Merrill Lynch downgraded the shares from "buy" to "neutral".