Business World

Friday 20 July 2018

FBD and China dominate in Dublin

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
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares plunged, in line with the rest of Europe yesterday, as fears about the state of the Chinese economy sent traders into panic selling across the globe.

The Dublin market fared no differently to elsewhere. By the close the ISEQ Overall Index had slumped 5.1pc, or 312 points, to close at 5,861.99. That was the worst single percentage loss in exactly five years.

The market was at one stage down more than 6pc, and seemed set for its worst day since the 2008 crash before a late recovery.

However the international picture only told part of the story. Insurance group FBD Holdings endured its worst day in nearly seven years. The company dropped 20.6pc to €5.40 after it produced interim results that were worse than forecast and signalled a round of job cuts and capital raising. The shares have now fallen nearly 40pc since chief executive Andrew Langford left at the end of July.

CRH gave up 5.9pc to close at €23.58. The construction supplies giant was hit by concerns about its exposure to China and the US economies.

It was a similar situation for Smurfit Kappa Group. The paper and packaging giant slid 6.1pc to end the day at €24.28.

AIB gave up 9.5pc. The lender, which is 99pc owned by the state, may face action over how it allegedly handled customers on tracker mortgages.

Only three shares posted gains yesterday.

The big winner was UTV. The media firm announced it was in discussions with an unnamed party - believed to be ITV - about selling off its TV business. The stock rose 7.5pc to €2.30 on the news.

Datalex, meanwhile, added 2.9pc to finish the day on exactly €2.

It was a bloodbath elsewhere around Europe with markets struggling. The FTSE 100 in London slid 4.7pc, the French CAC 40 lost 5.4pc, while the Dax in Germany fell 4.7pc.

Irish Independent

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