Sunday 18 March 2018

Growth fails to boost EU stockmarkets

Buy 'n' sell: A stock market employee crunching the numbers
Buy 'n' sell: A stock market employee crunching the numbers
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

EUROPEAN stockmarkets by and large ended yesterday in the red, despite figures that showed manufacturing in the euro area expanded for a fifth month.

Markit Economic's factory index rose to 51.6 in November from 51.3 in October, with the November reading higher than expected. Any figure above 50 shows expansion, and any figure below, contraction.

In the UK, manufacturing grew at its fastest rate in three years, with the index hitting 58.4 last month.

But it was Spain that dragged things down. Its purchasing managers' index (PMI) slid to 48.6 in November – the lowest level since May. It had been expected to come in at 51.1.

"The Spanish PMI is a wake-up call that we still have huge divergences between a strong Germany and the periphery," said Witold Bahrke, who helps oversee $55bn (€41bn) in assets as a senior strategist at PFA Asset Management in Copenhagen. "This is a reminder that growth expectations next year are quite optimistic."


In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index followed the downward trend. Manufacturing here slowed for the first time in seven months in November, with the Investec PMI falling to 52.4 from 54.9 in October.

The Overall Index, while in the red, barely declined, slipping just 0.16pc, or 7.31 points to 4,502.60.

The main driver was Bank of Ireland. Its shares closed down 3.1pc at 27.7. The bank said it didn't need more capital following a Central Bank review that showed it continued to meet minimum standards. However, the Central Bank said the bank will need to make extra provisions for bad loans.

Shares in Mincon, the latest arrival to the stock exchange, rose 3.1pc to 98 cent. The Limerick-based manufacturer of industrial drilling equipment floated last week with shares priced at 87 cent in Dublin.

Shares in packaging group Smurfit Kappa, meanwhile, edged 0.7pc lower to €17.38.

National benchmark indices retreated in 15 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 dropped 0.8pc and France's CAC 40 lost 0.2pc. Germany's DAX was little changed.

Irish Independent

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