Wednesday 21 February 2018

Dublin slips in line with European bourses as US economy slows down

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

IRISH shares dipped yesterday along with shares elsewhere in Europe as markets were rattled by news that the US economy unexpectedly shrank in the final three months of 2012.

By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index had fallen 0.22pc, or 7.69 points, to end the day at 3548.32.

The index had a mixed day. It rose after opening, before falling back, sharply increasing again mid afternoon before plummeting and rebounding slightly, although not enough to push the market into the black.

It was the first time in a week that the market closed lower.

Aer Lingus was up 1.5pc to €1.27 after the airline launched its pre-order meal options for transatlantic travellers.

Skydine is for pre-order by customers travelling in economy class on transatlantic flights between Dublin, Shannon and the US.

Drugs firm Elan had another positive day with its share price increasing 5pc to close the session at €7.69.

Food ingredients company Kerry Group was up 1.1pc to close the trading day at €38.62.

On the other side of the board, mining and exploration company Kenmare Resources dipped 3.3pc to €0.38 despite reporting a 40pc increase in revenue.

Recruitment company CPL was down 2.8pc to finish at €4.37, while construction materials giant CRH was down 1.5pc to €15.67.

Elsewhere, European stocks dropped the most this year amid the US economic report and as oil and gas contractor Saipem plunged.

The US economy shrank 0.1pc in the final three months of the year, sharply reversing the 3.1pc growth recorded in the third quarter.

The FTSE 100 dipped following the figures that had been expected to show the world's largest economy was still growing. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.6pc in London, falling from its highest level since February 18, 2011.

National benchmark indexes retreated in 14 of the 18 western-European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 slipped 0.3pc, while France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX both declined 0.5pc.

"Major risks for European equities may occur from political uncertainty," said Tobias Britsch, European equities asset manager at Meriten Investment Management GmbH, said.

"The political issues are unpredictable and this is increasing with elections in Europe coming up."

Saipem plummeted 34pc after cutting its earnings forecasts for 2012 and 2013.

Swedbank jumped the most in 32 months after the lender raised its dividend payout ratio to 75pc of profit after net income more than quadrupled in the fourth quarter.

Imperial Tobacco Group sank 4.3pc after saying profit will decline in the first half of this year. Europe's second-biggest tobacco company also reported a smaller gain in fiscal first-quarter revenue than analysts had estimated.

British American Tobacco, Europe's largest, dropped 0.8pc.

Nordea rose 3.2pc after Scandinavia's largest lender said profit increased 7pc in Q4.

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