Sunday 18 February 2018

Irish and major European stocks fall

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/agencies

A slump in German shares pushed European stocks lower yesterday amid a sell-off in Eurozone government bonds.

By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was down 1.52pc or 93.70 points to end the trading day at 6,082.66.

The leaders on the Dublin market included insurance group FBD, which closed up 2.1pc to €9.90, while food ingredients company Kerry Group increased 0.6pc to €64.

On the other side of the board, the laggards included packaging giant Smurfit Kappa, which fell 2.8pc to €26.91, while Ryanair dropped back 3pc to €10.90.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 1.3pc to 396.09 at the close of trading, having earlier lost as much as 2.1pc. All 19 industry groups declined. Yields surged on 10-year notes in Germany, Italy and Spain, while the euro strengthened.

The Stoxx 600 has retreated 4.3pc after a 21pc surge this year through a record in April amid quantitative-easing measures by the European Central Bank. "The weakness is broad-based," said Espen Furnes, of Storebrand Asset Management in Oslo.

"The bond market is showing more volatility and can possibly signal a less sanguine attitude towards QE.

"You can't hide the fact that equity markets have had an excellent start to the year. In that context I find it reasonable that some investors wish to take some profits."

High expectations for the ECB's bond-buying programme pushed global bond valuations to extreme levels, triggering a "large and vicious" sell-off in European debt, Goldman Sachs wrote in a note.

All but two of 18 western-European markets fell. Germany's DAX Index led declines, tumbling 1.7pc.

The UK's FTSE 100 Index, France's CAC 40 Index and Spain's IBEX 35 Index slipped more than 1pc.

Irish Independent

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