Wednesday 13 December 2017

Stocks fall as Europe waits on referendum

The logo of building materials firm, CRH.
The logo of building materials firm, CRH.

Bloomberg/Colm Kelpie

European stocks declined for the third time in four days yesterday, as investors awaited a Greek referendum on creditors' proposals this weekend.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.4pc to 385.46 at the close in London, after rising as much as 0.3pc in the morning.

The gauge was little changed most of the day, and began falling as the euro strengthened against the dollar following a US jobs report. Carmakers were among the biggest decliners, while energy companies rose the most among 19 industry groups as oil advanced.

By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was little changed, down just 0.02pc or just one point to 6245.79.

The leaders on the Dublin market included packaging giant Smurfit Kappa, which was up 1.6pc to €25.21, while building materials group CRH rose 0.3pc to €25.58.

On the other side of the board, the laggards included insurance group FBD, which dropped 1.3pc to €9.08, while drinks group C&C fell 1.4pc after it reported weaker than expected trading in its first financial quarter.

But all eyes were on Greece yesterday. "People will just wait and see what happens after the referendum," said Benedict Goette, founder of asset-management firm Compass Capital in Zurich.

"The dynamics are still difficult for the market. There's another turn every other day, a new rumour, a new leaked document."

A measure of expected stock volatility was near a three- year high reached this week.

A survey showed more Greeks are going against the government's call to vote against creditors' demands. The nation is now living with capital controls and has shut banks and its stock market after its euro-area financial- aid package expired and it missed a payment to the International Monetary Fund. Further bailout negotiations would have to wait until after the referendum.

Irish Independent

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