Thursday 19 April 2018

Market stays static ahead of American retail and housing data

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

IRISH shares were little changed by early afternoon yesterday as European stocks fell, with investors waiting for US retail and housing data to gauge the health of the world's biggest economy, before minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting.

By lunchtime in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was up just 0.09pc or 4.12 points to 4419.34.

Analysts and investors alike were closely awaiting the opening of the US market, with retail sales expected to rise fractionally, having slipped the previous month, and separate data showing sales of previously owned homes slowing from a 5.29 million rate a month earlier.

US stock-index futures were little changed.

The leaders on the Dublin market included insurance group FBD, which rose 2.8pc to €16.45 by early afternoon, while speciality baker Aryzta increased 1.7pc to €54.20.

Ryanair had a positive morning, rising 1.2pc to €5.64, while shipping and transport group Irish Continental was up 0.6pc to €25.

On the other side of the board, packaging giant Smurfit Kappa slipped 1.9pc to €16.97 by early afternoon, while insulation company Kingspan was down 1.2pc to €12.80.

Aer Lingus fell 1pc to €1.36, while Bank of Ireland slipped 0.7pc to 27 cents.

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 0.4pc to 321.38 at 12:30pm in London. The benchmark gauge yesterday fell from a five-year high, trimming this year's gains to 15pc.

The UK's FTSE 100 was down 0.15pc at 1.37pm, France's CAC 40 had slipped 0.23pc and Germany's DAX was little changed, slipping just 0.01pc.

"In this period with limited news from companies, investors have their full focus on the macro front, especially on US fundamentals," said Espen Furnes, fund manager at Storebrand Asset Management in Oslo.

"The health of the US consumer is vital to the US economy, so both retail sales and existing home sales can give indications of the progress.

"The Fed's policy stance is well known, and only any change in the language from the minutes could potentially stir investors."

Drinks giant Diageo dropped 1.1pc after chief executive Ivan Menezes said uncertainties in the global economy will drag on sales growth.

Irish Independent

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