Thursday 18 January 2018

European stocks hit one-year low on renewed growth concerns

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

European stocks fell to a one-year low yesterday, entering a bear market on concern about global growth and deepening losses in oil prices.

By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ overall index was down 2.05pc, or 132.25 points, to end the trading day at 6322.30. On the week, the ISEQ was down 3.72pc, its second week of losses in a row.

The leaders on the Dublin index included insurance group FBD, which increased 1.4pc to €6.44, while CPL Resources rose 0.8pc to €6.15. On the other side of the board, the laggards included drinks group C&C, which slumped 3.6pc to €3.39, while fruit company Fyffes was down 2.3pc to €1.51.

It's been a wild ride in the last nine months for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, which closed yesterday more than 20pc down from its record high in April - meeting the common definition of a bear market.

A weak euro and optimism surrounding the European Central Bank's stimulus plan proved no match for disappointing news out of China that added to worries about global growth. Global stocks plunged yesterday on renewed concerns.

"There is a real fragility in the market, and once a level breaks down it can go further easily," said Lorne Baring, a fund manager who helps oversee $500m at B Capital in Geneva."Market moves may well precipitate a more aggressive stance by the ECB as soon as next week."

A big chunk of the declines came just this year. Stocks fell about 10pc in 2016 alone, with volatility spiking to a September high.

The Stoxx 600 closed at a one-year low of 329.84. Only 17 of the index's 600 shares are trading above their December 31 price, and earnings, once seen as a potential bright spot, are now unlikely to offer much support. Earnings revisions across the world are now the most negative since 2009.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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