Sunday 15 December 2019

European turmoil weighs on ISEQ


Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares fell again yesterday as the European turmoil continued to weigh heavily on market sentiment.

By the close of trading the ISEQ Overall Index was down 0.45pc, or 13.11 points, at 2,887.14.

While it was another loss for the index, it could have been a lot worse.

The index tumbled at the opening bell in line with the rest of Europe, falling as low as 2,831.5 before recovering once it became clear the European Central Bank had moved into the market and was buying bonds from the European periphery nations that were conducting debt auctions yesterday.

Greencore was the big faller during the session, dropping 8.95pc to close at 88c. The company announced it had agreed to takeover the UK sandwich maker Uniq and would carry out a share issue to help finance the deal. Despite the possible dilution, however, analysts broadly welcomed the deal.

CRH slipped again closing down 1.22pc on a combination of fears about the world economy and the ongoing dispute in the US over the raising of the national debt ceiling.

Despite the losses, there were significant gains on the day.


Kerry Group added 1.83pc to close at €29 despite the UK Office of Fair Trading announcing it will investigate the company's merger with Headland Foods. Aer Lingus added 3.92pc, while First Derivatives soared 10pc to €6.60.

Elsewhere, European stocks fell, dragging the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to the biggest three-day drop since March.

National benchmark indices fell in all of the 18 western European markets, except Italy, Portugal and Luxembourg. Germany's DAX Index declined 0.8pc, France's CAC 40 and the UK's FTSE 100 each lost 1pc.

"We have two negative themes for the equity market, with on the one hand increasing tensions in Italy and Greece, and on the other the earnings season giving signs of an economic slowdown," said Christian Stocker, a Munich-based strategist at UniCredit.

"We remain cautious for the second half of the year and defensive in terms of sector allocation."

In London, Thomas Cook plummeted 28pc to a record low of 87.85 pence. The company said its underlying operating profit for the year ending in September may fall below forecasts given in May.

TUI Travel fell 7.5pc, the biggest decline in nine months. International Consolidated Airlines Group, the parent of British Airways, dropped 2.3pc.

BSkyB fell 3.3pc, to its lowest price in more than a year. British Prime Minister David Cameron said his government would support an opposition Labour Party motion calling for News Corp to withdraw its bid to take full control of BSkyB.

Irish Independent

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