Shares fall to end winning streak
IRISH shares fell yesterday, snapping a four-day winning streak, as losses in some of the major companies on the exchange overshadowed a day of broad gains.
By the close, the ISEQ Overall Index was down 0.77pc, or 22.51 points, at 2,912.70. It was a day of struggle for the index, which dropped into negative territory and only enjoyed a brief rally in the afternoon before falling back to a loss.
Food stocks had an especially poor day after a British dairy company reported a sharp rise in oil and packaging costs on the back of rising commodity prices.
That news was taken as a bad omen for the sector, which spends huge amounts of capital on packaging and transport.
By the close of trading, Kerry Group had fallen 1.42pc to €24.30, while Glanbia had slipped 1.25pc to €3.95. Aryzta was down 1.78pc to €32.02 on its ex-dividend day.
The food sector was not the only sector to have a disappointing day. CRH lost 0.68pc to close at €16.02 after another snowstorm in the north-eastern United States sparked speculation that construction projects in the region would again be put on hold.
Despite the losses among major stocks, there were several winners on the day.
Traders again backed Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller in the dispute with cabin crew as it emerged that management had agreed to meeting unions reps today. The carrier closed up 3.01pc at €1.06.
CPL climbed 3.5pc after reporting positive results while Irish Life & Permanent and Bank of Ireland reacted strongly to the news that the Finance Bill had passed all stages of the Dail. IL&P closed up 9.14pc at 93c while BoI added 2.21pc to end the day at 32c.
Elsewhere, European stocks rose for a second day after the Federal Reserve maintained its stimulus plans, overshadowing the first downgrade of Japan's credit rating by Standard & Poor's in nine years.
National benchmark indexes rose in 14 of the 18 western European markets. France's CAC 40 climbed 0.3pc and Germany's DAX gained 0.4pc, while the UK's FTSE 100 slid 0.1pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index closed up 0.2pc.
"Markets were very happy the Fed announced it will keep buying Treasuries," said Michael Koehler, head of strategy at Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg.
"Japan's downgrade confirms once again that we haven't solved the sovereign-debt issue."
Mitchells & Butlers, the UK owner of Harvester and Toby Carvery pubs and restaurants, jumped 4.1pc. The company said sales at outlets open at least a year gained 2.5pc in the nine weeks ended January 22.
Nokia sank 0.8pc after the world's biggest maker of mobile phones said fourth-quarter net income fell to €745m.