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Irish shares fall in line with European stocks

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REUTERS

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Irish shares fell yesterday in line with the major European stocks.

By late afternoon in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was down 1.1pc or 57.78 points to 5,174.23.

C&C was one of the main losers yesterday, with the drinks company down 9.3pc by about 4pm to €3.40, after predicting profit below analysts' estimates following a slowdown in sales.

Earlier in the day it had dropped as much as 12pc, the steepest intra-day decline since the end of October.

Operating profit in the year through February will probably total €115m following "weaker than expected trading conditions" in the third quarter, C&C said.

A "quiet" end to 2014 in Ireland and Scotland compounded a year of woes for chief executive Stephen Glancey in which US sales slumped.

Other laggards on the Dublin index included insurance group FBD, which fell 1.8pc to €11.05 and speciality baker Aryzta, which slipped 1.6pc to €63.99.

On the other side of the board, the leaders by late afternoon included Paddy Power, which was up 0.4pc to €64.20 and packaging giant Smurfit Kappa, which rose 0.4pc to €20.02.

Elsewhere, European stocks fell from a five-week high as energy and mining shares followed commodity prices lower on global-growth concern, as the World Bank cut its forecasts. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 1.1pc to 340.9 at 3:33 pm in London.

The benchmark pared losses of as much as 1.4pc after an aide to the European Union's top court said a bond-buying programme by the region's central bank via outright monetary transactions is "in principle" in line with the bloc's treaty.

The UK's FTSE 100 Index slid 2pc, dragged down by miners,

It came in for the worst performance among western-European markets.

Greece's ASE Index lost 1.9pc for the second- worst drop.

Benchmark indexes of all of the 18 markets fell except Portugal and Iceland.

"The global economy is now terribly sensitive to small inputs in important factors, such as currencies, oil prices, and commodity prices," David Hussey, head of European equities at Manulife Asset Management, said.

"People are going to be very worried about whether we're in deflation and whether growth is coming back.

"The market is extremely confused."

That's what this year is all about, and there will be a lot more volatility."

Portugal's second largest retailer Jeronimo Martins SGPS rallied 10pc after the grocer said fourth quarter comparable sales grew in Portugal and Poland.

Tesco rose 2.3pc after Pershing Square Capital Management's Bill Ackman said he had considered investing in the British supermarket chain.

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