Monday 18 December 2017

Grafton leads losers on jittery day

Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

CONTINUED trouble in Europe saw the ISEQ Overall Index fall yesterday by 0.8pc, closing at 24 points down to land at 3,018. It followed a tumbling of eurozone stocks as experts expressed doubts that the forthcoming Euro summit later this week could make any difference in solving the ongoing debt issues.

The big fallers included construction interests like the Grafton Group which lost 7.2pc to €13.45 and Kingspan which lost 1.8pc to €6.26 while CRH slipped by 1.6pc to €13.45 amidst ongoing concerns for the UK's housing market.

Bank of Ireland lost 3.85pc to 9c and Permanent TSB shed 3.85pc to 3c as the ongoing Ulster Bank issues further weakened confidence in the already damaged Irish banking system.

Mining stock from Kenmare tumbled by 4pc to 50c but elsewhere Petroneft added 6.25pc to 9c, making it one of the biggest percentage climbers of the day. Split fortunes reigned in the pharma sector where United Drug fell 3.3pc to €2.05 but Merrion Pharmaceuticals rose by 5pc to 21c and Elan rose a half percent to €11.39 as various stocks reacted to a landmark Supreme Court ruling in America on President Obama's healthcare reforms.

Meantime, as we await a decision on the latest Ryanair proposal to acquire Aer Lingus, the former soared by a healthy 4.29pc to €4.08 while the latter took a dive of 1.78pc to €1.05.

Amid continued gloomy summer drinking weather and the ejection of England from the Euro soccer competition, cider maker C&C took a hard dive of 3.85pc to 9c.

Conditions weren't helped in Europe with news that the nominee for the position of Greek's finance minister has just turned down the job on health grounds. On top of this, prospects for the summit look bleak, with the new Greek government heading for a showdown with the EU and International Monetary Fund over its bid to ease the terms of its massive bailout repayments. Greek's new government is intent to negotiate for a softening of its austerity measures despite Germany already ruling this out.

The Stoxx 600 European Index fell 1.53pc to 242.82.

London's FTSE index fell 1.1pc, the Frankfurt DAX lost 2.1pc and the Paris CAC sank even more losing 2.2pc on the basis of predictions that government economic goals would be scaled back. In Madrid, where further downgrades were feared for the banks, Madrid shares dropped 3.67pc, Milan tumbled 4pc, and Athens plunged 6.8pc, in part thanks to the sick note finance minister.

US stocks were also weaker as another crunch week for the eurozone began. Asian markets ended with losses in earlier trade with investors cautious ahead of the forthcoming European summit.

Irish Independent

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