Shares down as traders await results
IRISH shares were down slightly yesterday as nervous traders played safe before the results of the latest stress tests were announced.
By the close of trading, the ISEQ Overall Index was down 0.41pc or 11.93 points at 2,874.71.
With shares in the banks suspended, there was a surreal feeling to the day's trading, with few significant moves made. The market opened up but came back down as the day went on. An afternoon sell-off ensured the market would end the day in negative territory.
CRH made the most significant move of the day, falling 1.94pc to €16.18. That loss helped bring the rest of the construction sector down, with Kingspan falling 1.41pc to €6.31 while Grafton fell 1.76pc to €3.31.
Those losses made sure the index would record a loss on the day, but there were significant winners as well.
Dragon Oil added 2.13pc on the back of analysts at Nomura slapping a "buy" recommendation on the company. Analyst Scott Daly said he expected "significant uplift in output" this year.
Traders approved of Ryanair's decision to put a €2 surcharge on its passengers to cover the cost of cancellation and delays. By the close, the no-frills airline had gained 1.17pc to reach €3.36.
A positive trading update from Ovoca Gold helped lift the firm 6.45pc to 33c.
Elsewhere, European stocks fell as inflation unexpectedly accelerated to the fastest pace in more than two years in March and investors speculated that the region would struggle to contain its sovereign-debt crisis.
National benchmark indexes fell in 16 of the 18 western European markets. France's CAC 40 Index fell 0.9pc. The UK's FTSE 100 Index retreated 0.7pc and Germany's DAX Index slipped 0.2pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 slid 1pc.
"Inflation accelerating makes it more likely that the European Central Bank will tighten monetary policies, deteriorating the environment for European equities," said Tammo Greetfeld, senior equity strategist at UniCredit in Munich. "The euro-zone debt crisis will not end any time soon."
H&M sank 3.2pc as Europe's second-largest clothing retailer said first-quarter net income fell below expectations.
In London, stocks dropped in the final minutes of trading after the results of the stress tests were announced.
HSBC, Europe's largest bank, dropped 2.3pc, Barclays lost 2.2pc and Standard Chartered retreated 1.1pc.
Kingfisher, Europe's biggest home-improvement retailer, dropped 3.3pc. Next, the owner of more than 500 fashion stores in the UK and Ireland, retreated 1.5pc. And Dixons plunged 8.2pc, the largest drop in the Stoxx 600, after Fitch Ratings revised the retailer's outlook to negative from positive.