Thursday 26 April 2018

Demand for metal bucks shares slump

Traders work in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
Traders work in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

Marc Jones

World stocks struggled at a five-and-a-half-week low on Monday, though metals dazzled - with zinc at its highest in a decade, copper hitting a nearly three-year high and iron ore's gains in the last three sessions stretching to nearly 15pc.

Traders were digesting the latest departure from Donald Trump's White House team, watching tensions around North Korea and waiting to see what the world's top central bankers would signal at the Jackson Hole gathering later this week.

European stocks clawed back most of an early 0.2pc dip, as M&A activity helped shipping giant Maersk jump and the rally in metals sent Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Anglo American higher.

Zinc had hit its highest since October 2007 at $3,180.50 a tonne, bellwether industrial metal copper rallied to $6,593 a tonne, its highest since November 2014, and nickel, used in stainless steel, gained over 2pc as it reached a 2017 peak.

China's iron ore futures soared more than 4pc meanwhile, fuelled by concerns of shortages and before curbs on futures purchases which are touted to come into force in the next few months.

It also came amid hopes for Chinese infrastructure spending and a potential boost down the road from electric cars, though some analysts cautioned moves may be speculative too.

At home the Iseq index was weaker, with some big US-focused names including CRH and Glanbia lower. Kingspan continued its recent gains, rising well over 2pc.

In the currency market, the dollar remained hampered by Friday's departure of Steve Bannon from Mr Trump's top team. The dollar fetched 108.970 yen, not far from Friday's four-month low of 108.605. The euro was also in the doldrums, stuck at $1.1760. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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