Saturday 17 August 2019

Banks and builders drag the ISEQ lower

Markets Report

President Donald Trump. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP
President Donald Trump. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP Newsdesk Newsdesk

European shares were flat yesterday, as upbeat results from chipmaker ASML and pharma firm Swedish Orphan Biovitrum were offset by a steep fall in oil stocks, with rising Sino-US trade tensions weighing.

In Dublin, the ISEQ was down 1pc in afternoon trading, however, with the main banks and housebuilders Cairn and Glenveagh among the decliners. Elsewhere, the biggest percentage loser among European sectors was the oil and gas sector, down 1.14pc, as energy heavyweights BP and Total gave up more than 1pc after US crude trailed gains for international benchmark Brent on oversupply worries.

European banks fell 0.4pc yesterday, led by Swedish banks, as Handelsbanken dropped on poor results, while Swedbank slipped after cutting its shareholder payout policy.

A rise in expectations of further monetary easing by central banks has helped stock markets globally recover from a pounding in May due to concerns over global growth and the impact of US president Donald Trump's trade war with China. In another sign that the conflict could be protracted, Mr Trump said on Tuesday that the United States and China have a long way to go to strike a deal, and that he could impose tariffs on an additional $325bn (€290bn) worth of Chinese goods.

"Hopes of a quick deal went out the window when negotiations broke down in May. From then on, it's quite logical to assume that it's going to be some time before we get to a deal," said Bert Colijn, an economist at ING in Amsterdam

In the US, stocks dropped as investors assessed mixed corporate earnings amid fresh trade tensions. Treasuries climbed, while the dollar fell.

Industrials led the S&P 500 Index below 3,000, with CSX plunging the most since the financial crisis, after a weakened sales forecast stoked fears of a freight slump. The Dow Jones Transportation Average, a barometer of economic growth, sank the most since May. Bank of America rose as gains in its retail division drove overall profit to a record, while the trading unit saw a drop in revenue. Netflix slid before its results, and oil fell.

In currencies, the pound remained under pressure against the US dollar and the euro.

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