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Worst day of March for Irish stocks


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

Irish and European stocks fell the most this month yesterday, as commodity producers tracked losses in steel and copper prices.

The ISEQ index of Irish shares lost more than 1pc to close at 6660.32. The big losers on the day were oil and gas explorer Providence Resources, which lost more than 6pc, while mining-equipment maker Mincon lost almost 4.5pc - despite beating analyst expectations with its results.

On the other side of the board, the publisher of this newspaper, Independent News & Media, was the best performer - rising more than 9pc after it said full-year revenue grew despite falls in circulation and advertising revenue.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.5pc at the close, after erasing gains of as much as 0.4pc. All but three of the benchmark's 19 industry groups declined, with miners dropping the most in almost two weeks.

Commodity producers fell 2.8pc, trimming their fifth straight quarterly advance. Healthcare shares declined the most since January, while carmakers dropped to a three-week low.

The upcoming French presidential election has not impeded the momentum in equity markets so far, Macquarie Group analysts said in a note, citing gains in the Stoxx 600 and European banks this year.

In the US, shares were headed for the worst day of the year at lunchtime on the east coast. Financial shares dropped with trading volume double the average, and bonds rallied for the fifth time in six sessions.

"If not for the fact that we have not seen a 1pc pullback in 114 days this would be just a garden variety down day but we are out of practice at looking at red screens (share price falls)," Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich, said via email.

Irish Independent