Thursday 14 December 2017

European stocks fall on thin trade

Emelia Sithole-Matarise

European shares fell in thin trade yesterday while the dollar powered ahead after US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that the central bank was poised to raise interest rates this year.

Investor concerns about Greece's debt problems and a poor regional and local election result by Spain's ruling People's Party also weighed on the euro and European shares.

In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index edged slightly lower, shedding 0.17pc to end the session at 6,262.71.

Among the movers was packaging giant Smurfit Kappa. It gained 2.6pc to €29.08.

Goldman Sachs initiated coverage on the stock yesterday, with a 'buy' rating.

Ryanair was virtually unchanged, down just 0.18pc at €10.88. The airline releases its full-year results this morning.

Aer Lingus was 0.29pc lower at €2.37 as investors await a decision from the Government on a possible sale of the carrier to IAG. The benchmark French CAC 40 index shed 0.8pc. Trading volumes were thin as several markets including Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States were shut for holidays.

Spain's IBEX equity index fell 2.3pc after voters in regional and local elections on Sunday punished Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's ruling PP for four years of austerity while Greece's ATG share index fell 2pc.

"The Greek debt warning and the Spanish election outcome are weighing on the markets, said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade.

After four months of talks with its euro zone partners and the IMF, Greece's leftist-led Syriza government is still scrambling for a deal that could release up to €7.2bn in remaining aid to avert bankruptcy. It has warned it could miss payments to the IMF.

Irish Independent

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