Business World

Sunday 18 March 2018

Investors braced for Catalonia threat

The euro climbed to its highest point in a week
The euro climbed to its highest point in a week

Stocks around the world rose yesterday, helped by record highs on Wall Street although Europe traded cautiously and US Treasury yields fell as investors braced for a possible move by Catalonia to unilaterally declare independence from Spain.

While oil futures traded higher the dollar lost ground as the euro climbed to its highest point in a week after Germany's trade data beat forecasts and on expectations the European Central Bank may consider scaling back asset purchases.

Madrid's IBEX stocks index was 1pc lower due to Spain's biggest political crisis since an attempted military coup in 1981. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of European stocks was down 0.2pc.

If Catalonia splits from Spain "that is going to create economic disruption, and that's bad for the Spanish economy and the eurozone as a whole", said Mary Ann Hurley, vice president in fixed income trading at DA Davidson in Seattle.

In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index dipped 0.11pc, or 7.29 points, to end the Budget Day session at 6,810.28.

Changes to commercial stamp duty and other moves by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe saw Green Reit shed 1pc to €1.50. IRES Reit lost 0.34pc. Hibernia Reit fell 1.1pc.

Cairn Homes jumped 2.8pc to €1.74 on the back of home-building measures in the Budget.

Ryanair recovered some lost ground yesterday, rising 1.7pc to €16.77, while Smurfit Kappa shed almost 1.5pc at €25.50.

The UK's FTSE-100 edged 0.4pc higher. France's CAC-40 was flat, and Germany's DAX fell 0.21pc.

On top of strong German export data, traders were also upbeat after one of the European Central Bank's German policymakers called for an end to its stimulus.


Irish Independent

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