Investors hold breath as talks begin on US fiscal cliff
INVESTORS chewed their nails yesterday as talks got under way in the United States over the country's looming fiscal cliff.
US President Barack Obama held talks with a number of politicians. He has insisted on higher taxes for the country's biggest earners, while Republican foes don't want any hikes.
Industrial production in the US also fell unexpectedly, with the decline sparked by the fallout from Hurricane Sandy as it knocked out power across the north-eastern part of the country. Tensions in Israel also made for nervous European and US bourses.
"The situation in Israel doesn't help at all," said Richard Bonnor-Moris, head of multi-asset allocation at Newscape Capital in London, which oversees about $600m (€470m) in funds. "Any kind of tensions in that region that do end up forcing the price of oil higher is particular bad for growth."
Crude for January delivery gained 1.5pc to $87.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index extended the week's declines yesterday. It shed 17.05 points, or 0.53pc, to head into the weekend at 3,178.07. It had tried to bounce back earlier in the afternoon but couldn't keep out of the red.
Shares in gambling firm Paddy Power initially fell over 2pc but later recovered to close almost unchanged at €54.55. The company said that net revenue between July and mid-November rose 23pc.
Shares in travel software firm Datalex gained 4pc, or 3 cent, to 78 cent after it said that it's on target to deliver strong growth in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation this year.
It was a good day too for insulation maker Kingspan, which added 3.4pc, or 24 cent, to €7.50, while Grafton Group gained nearly 2pc to €3.40.
Ryanair lost just over 0.7pc as an appeal got underway in a London court. It's trying to stop a probe into its shareholding in Aer Lingus by the UK Competition Commission. Shares in Aer Lingus were unchanged.
National benchmark indices fell in all 18 western European markets, except Greece and Iceland. The UK's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX Index sank 1.3pc. France's CAC 40 Index slipped 1.2pc.
Royal KPN, the former Dutch phone monopoly, slid 7.1pc to €4.03, the lowest price in a decade. Sanford C Bernstein & Co. cut its recommendation on the stock on Thursday.