Thursday 21 September 2017

Stocks fall as investors are spooked by US jobs data

Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

DUBLIN's ISEQ followed global markets into negative territory yesterday as bleak US jobs figures and weaker-than-expected European economic data combined to spook investors.

The ISEQ was in the red from the opening bell but it didn't begin falling sharply until lunchtime, when new figures showed that US non-farm payrolls -- a major benchmark of economic activity that measures net job creation -- grew by just 115,000 last month. This was considerably less than the expectations of a 168,000 rise.

The afternoon sell-off left the Dublin index down 2.6pc on the session at 3,162.9 points. But that was still comfortably above its one-month low of 3,139, reached on April 10.

Ireland's financials closed marginally up, despite new warnings from Royal Bank of Scotland about continued challenges on its Ulster Bank mortgage book.

Oil

Irish Life & Permanent -- now made up of just Permanent TSB -- was briefly up 13pc after a tiny trade at 3.9c in the early afternoon. It eventually closed down 2.9pc at three cent.

Bank of Ireland closed down 4.6pc at 10.4 cent on more reasonable volumes, while AIB was down 1.3pc at eight cent.

Only five Irish companies ended the day ahead. Oil companies Aminex and Petroceltic, together with travel agency software Datalex, all advanced, along with the clinical-research firm Icon, which rose 5.5pc to €17.20. Insurer FBD was up 0.6pc at €8.86.

The biggest loser of the day was Independent News & Media, down 8.2pc at 29c. INM's share price had surged on Thursday after Denis O'Brien bought another 6pc of the company. Yesterday it emerged that his stake had risen to 29.9pc.

UTV was another notable slider yesterday, as its stocks fell 6.8pc to €1.73, while construction giant CRH fell 4.4pc.

It was also a tough day for Ireland's food stocks, with Total Produce down 7.37pc, fruit giant Fyffes off 4.26pc and Kerry Group 3.57pc in the red.

In London, the FTSE 100 closed down 1.93pc, with oil stocks Tullow (down 5.7pc) and Rio Tinto (down 4.4pc) among the biggest losers as the US jobs data drove oil prices lower over concerns about faltering energy demand.

Brent North Sea Crude hit its lowest price in three months, while Nymex crude fell by 4.06pc.

Irish Independent

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