Business Irish

Friday 15 December 2017

ISEQ dips as European counterparts plunge over Greek concerns

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

The benchmark ISEQ tumbled by the most in three weeks yesterday while rival European indices posted the biggest retreat since they began rallying in January, as concern over Greek debt was exacerbated by declines in the US and Asia.

The ISEQ was down 92.19 points, or 1.4pc, to 6,249.32 points as heavyweights such as CRH and Ryanair fell. CRH was down 2pc to €25.44 while the low cost airline slipped 1.9pc to €11.01 and Aryzta tumbled 2.8pc to €62.41. Other big losers included Kingspan, Hibernia and Kenmare, who also posted significant falls. Smurfit Kappa bucked the trend; rising 2.2pc to €28.95 amid hopes that a rival may be preparing a bid and UTV following news that rival TV3 may be facing a change in ownership.

In London, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 1.8pc to 403.69 at the close of trading, completing the worst week of the year. The Greek ASE Index slid 3pc, with the National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank tumbling more than 7pc, as the country struggles to win more aid to avoid a default. Germany's DAX Index plunged 5.5pc this week, the most since 2011.

European stocks fell for a second day after reaching a fresh peak Wednesday, taking weekly losses to 2.2pc. The Stoxx 600's still up 18pc this year amid European Central Bank stimulus, and trades near the highest level relative to projected profits of its members in at least a decade.

"We've become a bit more cautious over the past few months because markets have been rallying pretty rapidly," said Dirk Thiels, head of investment management at KBC Asset Management in Brussels.

"Valuations are pricing in a lot. Stocks are still pretty close to a record."

The volume of Stoxx 600-listed shares traded was 22pc higher than the 30-day average.

Greek stocks plunged 6pc over the week for the worst performance among western-European markets. (Additional reporting Bloomberg)

Patrick Edwards and Namitha Jagadeesh

Irish Independent

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