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Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond is close to his dream of an independent Scotland

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond is close to his dream of an independent Scotland

REUTERS

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond is close to his dream of an independent Scotland

Irish and European stocks slid yesterday, with the ISEQ index of Irish shares down 55.27 points at 4,898.97.

Ryanair shares were among the most traded in Dublin and ended the session at €7.4830 each - down slightly less than 1pc after the company announced a record- breaking €22bn order for Boeing jets.

Fyffes shares were also down - falling 2pc to 98 cents each after it said it was allowing proposed merger partner Chiquita time to explore an alternative takeover proposal from juice maker Cutrale and investment firm Safra Group.

Shares in Green Reit were down after the company announced profits of €43.1m for its first year in business.

Among names bucking the negative market trend was oil and gas explorer Aminex - its shares were up 20pc yesterday at 1.8 cents each. Last week the company lifted estimates for oil at a site in Tanzania.

In London the fallout from an opinion poll in Scotland indicating a slim majority in favour of independence sent the FTSE 100 index lower.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group - which owns Ulster Bank - and Lloyds Banking Group, the two banks that lend the most in Scotland, lost more than 1pc each.

Oil and gas producers were also active after Brent crude slipped below $100 a barrel. The sector posted the second-biggest loss of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index of leading European shares.

Overall, the Stoxx 600 retreated 0.4pc to 346.09 at the close of trading, after earlier losing as much as 1pc. The FTSE 100, which closed near a 14-year high last week, declined.

Penneys owner Associated British Foods Plc slipped 5.2pc to 2,757 pence, its largest drop since 2011 after interim sales figures undershot market expectations.

Investors push back a Bank of England rate increase

Investors pushed back expectations of when the Bank of England will raise interest rates yesterday after the latest opinion poll showed the pro-Scottish independence camp with a lead for the first time since polling began ahead of the vote.

With just 10 days to go before a referendum that could see the end of a three-century-old union with the rest of the UK, a YouGov survey put the "Yes" to Scottish independence campaign at 51pc, against those who intended to vote "No" at 49pc.

The sterling overnight interbank average rates showed the market had pushed back its forecast of a UK rate hike to seven months' time.

This is compared with its expectation of six months' time last week.

That throws into doubt the idea of a rate hike in the first quarter.

"Definitely the market is pushing back rate hikes because it's reacting to the idea that increased uncertainty over the future of Scotland," said Jamie Searle who is the UK rates interest rates strategist at Citi.

Jemima Kelly

Irish Independent