Thursday 22 March 2018

ISEQ hit by poor factory output

IRISH shares fell along with the major stocks across Europe as industrial output in the bloc contracted more than forecast.

By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index fell 0.39pc or 16.65 points to close the session at 4,236.78.

The Dublin market fell on opening and wasn't able to drum up enough support to pull it out of the red by the close.

Manufacturers across the eurozone struggled to shake off the legacy of a record-long recession.

Factory production in the region fell 1.5pc from June, when it gained 0.6pc, the European Union's statistics office said yesterday.

The leaders on the Dublin market included packaging giant Smurfit Kappa, which rose 2.1pc to €17, while insurance giant FBD rose 0.7pc to €14.35.

Fruit company Fyffes rose 1.2pc to 76c, while AIB increased 2.6pc to 8c.

On the other side, the laggards included insulation company Kingspan, which fell 2.6pc by the close to €11.85.

Drinks company C&C was down 1.1pc to €4.23, while building materials company CRH was down 1.1pc to €17.48 and bookmakers Paddy Power lost 1.1pc to €60.30.

European stocks slipped from the highest level in more than five years.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped less than 0.1pc to 310.74 at the close of trading, as four stocks declined for every three that gained. National benchmark indexes declined in 11 of the 18 western European markets.

Germany's DAX and the UK's FTSE 100 were little changed, while France's CAC 40 lost 0.3pc.

"We may have moved from the stabilisation phase in Europe, but there's still a lot of work to do," said Michael Morris, head of equities at Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management in London.

Across the Atlantic, treasuries rose as investors weighed prospects for Federal Reserve stimulus before the central bank meets next week as the drop in European factory output fuelled demand for the safety of government debt.

US stocks were little changed while gold slid the most since July. (Additional reporting Bloomberg)

Colm Kelpie

Irish Independent

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