Day of two halves with little good news to drive markets
IT WAS a day with two very different halves for the ISEQ, a mild opening recovery after Tuesday's mauling gave way to the index being flat by the end of the session.
The only consolation was that the performance reflected a lacklustre trend among other European indices, as a report showed that fewer than expected new jobs were created in the United States last month and UK consumer confidence waned.
The bad news overshadowed data from the European Central Bank following a tender process for three-month funds that revealed the region's financial institutions were now less reliant on the ECB for their funding requirements.
The ISEQ Overall Index was virtually unchanged by the end of the day at 2,878.67, having earlier inched towards 2,920. Stock performance was a mixed bag, with some, including building materials giant CRH regaining some of Tuesday's losses. It closed up 41c, or 2.5pc, at €17.14.
There were few other notable gainers during the day however, although financial services group IFG added nearly 1.8pc, or 2c, to close at €1.15. Immediately following its AGM yesterday, the stock had been as much as 5pc higher.
Casualties littered the market, with Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks adding to Tuesday's heavy declines; the former was down nearly 2.8pc, or 2c at 67c, while the latter fell 2.2pc, or 2c to just over 87c. Betting firm Paddy Power slipped 1.3pc, or 33c, to €25.42, while Kerry Group fell almost 2.4pc, or 55c to €22.70.
National benchmark indices gained in 11 of the 18 western European markets yesterday. Germany's DAX rose 0.2pc and France's CAC-40 climbed 0.3pc. The UK's FTSE-100 was little changed.
Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer and the world's fourth largest, fell 2.5pc to £3.80 (€4.63) as Citigroup, which has a "sell" recommendation on the shares, reduced its price estimate to £3.50 (€4.27) from £4 (€4.88). Debenhams, the UK's second-largest department-store chain, dropped 3.2pc to 53p. HMV surged 12pc to 64p as the music and DVD retailer said full-year profit rose 11pc as it sold more Blu-ray DVDs in its UK and Irish markets. An index of UK consumer sentiment declined to minus 19 in June as Britons became more pessimistic about the economic outlook in the face of planned government spending cuts, according to data from a market research company.
Stocks continued declining yesterday after Tuesday's battering amid weakening growth in China and a slump in US consumer confidence, dragging the Stoxx 600's valuation near to the lowest level since 2008. Bob Parker, a London-based senior adviser to Credit Suisse Asset Management, said these concerns were being "well discounted in market prices".