Monday 19 March 2018

First fall for European stocks in days

Frankfurt's stock exchange
Frankfurt's stock exchange

Bloomberg/Colm Kelpie

European stocks fell for the first time in seven days as commodity producers reversed early gains and ended their longest rally since 2000.

TheStoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.3pc to 361.79 at the close of trading, erasing an intraday gain of as much as 0.3pc. The gauge climbed 4.3pc last week, following its worst quarterly slide since 2011, as investors speculated the Federal Reserve won't rush to raise rates and commodity producers rallied.

By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was little changed, down just 0.06pc, or 3.45 points, to end the trading day at 6,133.04.

The leaders on the Dublin index included insurance group FBD, which increased 1.7pc to €6.98, while drinks group C&C rose 3pc to €3.76.

On the other side of the board, the laggards included banana company Fyffes, which slipped 2.1pc to €1.42, while packaging giant Smurfit Kappa dropped 0.5pc to €24.10.

"The market did quite well in the last few days and needs a break" said Christian Zogg, head of equity and fixed income at LLB Asset Management in Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

"Now the reporting season is kicking in and investors will have an eye on that for sure."

Companies including SAP, Daimler and ABB are among those scheduled to report results this month.

The volume of Stoxx 600 shares changing hands today was 21pc lower than the 30-day average. While US exchanges remain open, trading may be lighter because of the Columbus Day federal holiday.

Investors are also watching central bank activity for signs of support for the global economy. While March is the first month for which traders are pricing in at least even odds of a US rate lift-off, Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said over the weekend that there's still a case for rates to rise by the end of the year.

Among stocks active on corporate news, Novozymes slid 3.9pc.

Irish Independent

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