Business World

Wednesday 21 February 2018

European stocks end down on renewed Greece fears

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters

Donal O'Donovan and agencies

German and French stocks dragged European shares to their biggest decline in a month amid investor concern Greece won't reach an agreement with creditors in time for a debt repayment.

In Dublin the ISEQ index of Irish shares ended yesterday's session down 1.4pc at 6,274.60.

Declines affected most sectors, but in the resources area Kenmare was up 16pc to 5.8 cents and PetroNeft was up 12pc to 7.4 cents.

Takeover target Aer Lingus ended the week at €2.43 a share, below IAG's €2.55-a-share offer price.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index tumbled 1.7pc to 399.87 at the close of trading, trimming its monthly gain to 1pc.

The Stoxx 600 fell for a fifth time in six days, to give a 1.9pc weekly decline.

Benchmark gauges of French and German stocks fell at least 2.3pc as car makers led declines among industry groups. Greece's ASE Index slid 1.4pc.

"The declines are broad based, which suggests it's also some end-of-month rotations," said Espen Furnes, who helps oversee $85bn at Storebrand Asset Management in Oslo.

"As long as Greece is in the news, it will be a concern, although the real economic implications for the rest of Europe are negligible."

Greece is under pressure to make stronger commitments to overhaul its economy and strengthen public finances before any further funds are released.

The Mediterranean nation hasn't yet said how it will make almost €1.6bn in International Monetary Fund payments scheduled for next month, with the first transfer due on June 5.

In the US, Commerce Department data showed the world's largest economy contracted in the first quarter, further undermining sentiment. Gross domestic product shrank at a 0.7pc annualised rate.

Irish Independent

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