Sunday 25 February 2018

ISEQ bucks trend as major European stocks fall

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York. Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York. Photo: Reuters

European stocks fell after Apple's worse-than-forecast results dragged semiconductor firms lower and commodity producers deepened declines.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.4pc to 401.09 at 11:54a.m. in London, after losing as much as 0.7pc earlier.

Apple chip suppliers Dialog Semiconductor and Infineon Technologies lost at least 3.4pc. ARM Holdings, whose technology is used in iPhones, slid 3.8pc.

The ISEQ overall Index bucked the European trend, however. By mid-afternoon, it was up 0.64pc or 41.12 points to end the trading session at 6,506.52.

The leaders on the Dublin market by mid-afternoon included insurance group FBD, which increased 0.6pc to €9.25, while speciality baker Aryzta was up 1.5pc to €44.64.

On the other side of the board, the laggards included food ingredients company Kerry, which dropped 1.1pc to €69.20, while bookmaker Paddy Power was down 0.7pc to €81.02.

Elsewhere, miners fell for a fourth day, sending the UK's FTSE 100 Index 1.1pc lower, the worst decline in western-European markets.

BHP Billiton slid 4pc after saying petroleum, copper and coal output will drop in fiscal 2016.

Apple's "supply chain clearly has ramifications for companies across the world", said Daniel Murray, London-based head of research at EFG Asset Management. "I would interpret the recent commodities sell-off as partly a reflection of stronger dollar sentiment, as well as fears about China. None of that looks like it's going to change anytime soon."

The Stoxx 600 fell for the first time in 10 days yesterday amid mixed earnings reports. Before that, fading fears over Greece pushed the gauge to its fastest rally in three and a half years, taking it closer to strategists' year-end forecasts. Carmakers dropped the most after miners on the Stoxx 600, with Volkswagen and Renault slipping at least 2pc.

Pound bulls found enough to keep them happy in the minutes of the Bank of England's July meeting, even as policy makers voted unanimously to keep interest rates at a record low.

Sterling climbed against all its 16 major counterparts yesterday as the minutes showed a growing number of the nine Monetary Policy Committee members are concerned inflationary pressures are rising. The bank also said that if the crisis in Greece were excluded, the decision of whether to raise the benchmark rate from 0.5pc was becoming "more finely balanced".

"It may well be that come the August meeting what we actually see is maybe two or three members voting for a hike," said Sam Hill, senior UK economist at RBC Capital Markets in London.

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