Business World

Saturday 14 December 2019

Greece's fortunes upset indices

Mark Keenan and John Mulligan

GREECE continued to be the word in Europe where the nation once again played havoc with markets yesterday after news of fresh elections led to speculation that there is no alternative but for the country to exit the euro.

The election reversed earlier gains following positive news from Germany which grew faster than expected in the first quarter.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell again reaching its lowest level since December.

In the UK the FTSE 100 rallied earlier in the day on the news from Germany but quickly fell following the latest uncertainties from Greece to end the day down 0.5pc.

"Germany is holding up the eurozone," said Nick Kounis of ABN Amro in Amsterdam.

"While it will remain the outperformer, I doubt this will happen again in the second quarter," he said, adding that for the euro area "the second quarter is likely to be negative".

The ISEQ Overall index slipped 3.57 points, or 0.1pc, to close at 3084.74 points.

France's CAC 40 lost 0.6pc, the German DAX retreated 0.8pc and Greece's own ASE Index dropped 3.6pc to hit its lowest level since 1992. Norway was the only benchmark in Europe to close higher.


It was a largely uneventful day on the ISEQ with most stocks ending the session little changed.

Among the gainers were Elan which closed the day up 1.8pc amid reports that a US official said authorities there were willing to approve an Alzheimer's drug with a "single outcome measure".

Among the other movers yesterday was Bank of Ireland, which regained some of the significant ground it lost on Monday. It closed up 2.2pc at 9 cent.

Commodity firms continued their streak of declines again yesterday. Kenmare Resources plunged 8.2pc, or 4.7 cent, to 52.5 cent. That makes for a flat 12-month return and leaves the stock 28pc lower than it was back in late February.

Distribution and logistics group DCC closed unchanged at €19.90 after reporting operating profits of €185m for the year ended in March -- a 19.4pc fall compared to the previous financial year.

In Italy, UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, the biggest lenders, declined 5.5pc to €2.53 and 5.5pc to 97.65 cent respectively after Moody's cut the credit ratings of 26 of the nation's lenders, citing weakened earnings and the domestic economic outlook.

Vivendi added 2pc to €12.68 after reporting profit that exceeded analysts' estimates.

First-quarter net income, excluding one-off gains or losses and some costs, fell 13pc to €823m. That beat the €765m average of analyst estimates.

Irish Independent

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