Sunday 15 December 2019

Irish shares dip but record highs reached in Europe

Colm Kelpie

IRISH shares fell fractionally yesterday but some of the major European stocks hit record highs.

In New York and London, some indices hit record highs or flirted with highs last seen in the late 1990s.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index closed at a six-year high, as data showed the US economy contracted for the first time in 12 quarters while jobless claims declined last week.

By the close of business in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was down 0.31pc or 15.18 points to end the trading day at 4911.62.

The leaders on the Dublin market included Aer Lingus, which closed up 1.4pc to €1.50 ahead of a planned 24-hour strike by cabin crew. Bookmakers Paddy Power was up 0.8pc to €52.38.

On the other side of the board, the laggards included packaging giant Smurfit Kappa, down 1.1pc to €17.35, while Dalata Hotel Group was up 0.7pc to €2.85.

Speciality baker Aryzta fell 1.3pc to €66.35.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index added less than 0.1pc to 344.51 at the close of trading in London, its highest level since January 2008. The benchmark gauge has gained 2pc in May as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged to ease monetary policy in June if necessary.

National benchmark indexes rose in three of the 10 western-European markets open. The UK's FTSE 100 advanced 0.3pc. Germany's DAX closed little changed and France's CAC 40 slipped less than 0.1pc.

In currencies, the pound headed for its biggest monthly drop against the dollar since October as investors judged a rally built on expectations the Bank of England will hasten plans to increase interest rates was losing momentum.

Sterling slipped for a fifth day against the euro, reaching the weakest level in more than a week, even after Martin Weale, external member of the Monetary Policy Committee, said he sees borrowing costs rising by as much as 1pc per year once the central bank starts tightening policy. (Additional reporting Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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