Business Irish

Saturday 24 February 2018

Bank stocks down despite upbeat assessment on stress tests

Carol Law, executive director of Fastnet Oil & Gas, which was the biggest riser on the ISEQ yesterday
Carol Law, executive director of Fastnet Oil & Gas, which was the biggest riser on the ISEQ yesterday

SARAH McCABE

IRISH stocks fell yesterday, mirroring trends across Europe where stocks fell from their highest level in more than six years.

The ISEQ Overall Index closed down 47.69 points or 0.97 to 97.13. The index has fallen 0.46pc this week despite big gains on Thursday. Mainstay Medical, the ISE's newest entry, closed down 5pc to €21.30. The company, whose sole product sends electrical impulses to the muscles around the spine to strengthen them, raised €18m in an IPO last week to fund clinical trials.

Other fallers including AIB and Bank of Ireland, down 3pc each to 11c and 27c respectively despite outgoing Department of Finance secretary general John Moran declaring to a parliamentary committee that he is "on the confident side" about upcoming stress tests.

Offshore Ireland-focused mining company Fastnet Oil and Gas saw the biggest gains of the day, rising 23pc to 10c. Real estate companies also did well, with Green REIT up 3pc to €1.27 and Dalata Hotel Group up 2pc to €2.89. Aer Lingus rose 2pc to €1.51, paring losses incurred earlier in the week amid speculation of summer strike action.

In Europe, stocks fell across the board as companies from Telefonica to Petroleum Geo-Services posted earnings that missed analysts' estimates. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.3pc to 338.54 at the close of trading, paring its fourth weekly gain to 0.2pc. The benchmark gauge climbed on Thursday to its highest level since January 2008 after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged to ease monetary policy if needed.

"It's a mixed picture in terms of earnings," Philippe Gijsels, chief strategy officer at BNP Paribas Fortis, said from Brussels. "A lot of the indices are at or close to multi-year highs but we've had almost a bloodbath in quite a few individual names. What we got from the ECB yesterday was clearly positive, but there are some worrying issues."

National benchmark indexes fell in 15 of the 18 western European markets.

The UK's FTSE 100 retreated 0.4pc and Germany's DAX dropped 0.3pc. France's CAC 40 slid 0.7pc.

Irish Independent

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