Monday 22 January 2018

FBD shares jump on back of RSA's woes as global stock markets tumble

RSA stock is down by around one third since major problems in the Irish unit first came to light on November 8
RSA stock is down by around one third since major problems in the Irish unit first came to light on November 8
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

SHARES in London Stock Exchange-listed RSA fell 7.22pc to £95.50 each after the company said it will inject a further £135m (€160m) into its troubled Irish arm.

RSA stock is down by around one third since major problems in the Irish unit first came to light on November 8.

RSA's local rival here, FBD, saw its shares boosted by 3.79pc to €17.25 each following the news.

The ISEQ index of Irish shares closed down 1.92 points at 4335.60.

Shares in Bank of Ireland were up at 26 cents each, though they are still below recent highs.

Global stock markets headed into the weekend nursing the biggest two-week drop since June, rocked by concerns the US Federal Reserve could start scaling back or "tapering" stimulus measures as early as next week.

That was sparked by stronger-than-expected US retail sales figures which followed better than forecast-US jobs numbers a week earlier.

Ironically, stocks are down on a recovering economic outlook because US authorities have said they will cut back on asset boosting measures as the recovery gathers pace.

"It's a tighter one than we originally thought. The data, especially the employment data and the retail sales, has been so strong that there is a reasonable probability of them actually making a taper and actually doing something in December," said Alan Higgins, chief investment officer, UK, at Coutts.

US-based funds pulled $6.5bn out of stock mutual funds in the past week, the biggest outflow this year, according to Thomson Reuters Lipper data.

The pan-European FTS-Eurofirst 300 touched fresh two-month lows before recovering some poise to trade up 0.2pc on US stocks futures.

However, the S&P 500 index is headed for its worst week since August.

London was also down, driven by the same concerns and also the sharp drop in RSA's share price.

Emerging markets were also hit, with sell-offs in currencies -- including the Indonesian rupiah and the Indian rupee -- on concern that tighter Fed policy could sap flows of money into emerging markets and push up borrowing costs there.

The low-yielding Japanese yen was another victim of dollar strength. Indeed, the greenback romped up to 103.925 yen after finally clearing a mass of offers around 103.70/74, reaching territory not visited since October 2008.

Irish Independent

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