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Oil worries weigh on markets

IRISH shares once again fell, along with the rest of the European markets, as ongoing concerns about rising oil prices continued to weigh on the market.

By the end of the day the ISEQ Overall Index was down 0.24pc, or 6.89 points, at 2,900.78 -- the fourth day in a row the index fell.

Brent Crude hit its highest price since before the collapse of Lehmann Brothers in 2008, touching $120 at one point in London before falling back. The rise in oil forced other commodities down amid fears that the global economy may be heading for another slowdown.

CRH fell again, this time losing 0.68pc to hit €16 at the close on fears the US economy may be heading for another rough period. The construction giant was not helped by data from the US, which showed a slowdown in new home sales there.

CRH's woes helped force the rest of the builders into negative territory, with Kingspan slipping 1.05pc to €6.58.

Aer Lingus and Ryanair were both hit by the worry of higher fuel costs, the national carrier dropping 6.12pc to 92c. Ryanair fell 2.01pc to €3.36.

There were few winners on the day but the financial sector broadly had a good day.


Allied Irish Banks stormed back from earlier losses, jumping 13.18pc to 25c after the company bought around €8bn worth of Anglo Irish Bank's deposits, while Bank of Ireland gained 3.61pc following confirmation that it was selling a division to Northern Trust.

Irish Life & Permanent fared less well, losing 1.68pc after adding Irish Nationwide's deposits.

Away from Dublin, national benchmark indexes fell in 12 of the 18 western European markets. Germany's DAX Index retreated 0.9pc, while the UK's FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 slipped less than 0.1pc.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index retreated 0.6pc. RBS retreated 3.6pc as Britain's biggest government-controlled lender reported a 2010 net loss of £1.1bn (€1.3bn).

Analysts had expected a £406.5m (€475.1m) loss.

Porsche preferred shares plunged 11pc, the biggest drop since July 2009. The sports-car maker said a probe by prosecutors in Stuttgart into allegations of share-price manipulation by two former board members would probably delay a planned merger with Volkswagen.

Volkswagen preferred stock declined 3pc. Automobile shares in the Stoxx 600 dropped 2.3pc for the biggest slide among 19 industry groups.

In London, Britvic, the maker of Robinson's fruit drinks, tumbled 12pc after saying the price of key raw materials is rising at an "unprecedented" pace and operating margins won't improve this year. Capita Group surged 7.2pc.

The company said it was bidding for and winning more orders than in 2010 as the economy recovered from recession.

Irish Independent