Business World

Thursday 23 November 2017

Investors still cautious on Ukraine tensions and US interest rate outlook

Janet Yellen, Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve
Janet Yellen, Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve

Inyoung Hwang

European stocks declined yesterday, paring their biggest weekly gain in six months, as tensions in Ukraine continued to intensify and the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, cited persistent slackness in the American labour market.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.2pc to 336.75 at the close of trading in London. The gauge earlier dropped as much as 0.7pc after Russian aid trucks entered Ukraine without consent from Kiev.

The Stoxx 600 gained 2.1pc this week as investors bet that industrial slowdown in the euro area will increase pressure on the European Central Bank to introduce asset purchases known as quantitative easing.

"We're so used to Yellen being an arch dove, anything less than that is treated with some disappointment," said Michael Ingram, a market strategist at BGC Brokers in London. "But it does look like the market is edgy particularly in light of the Fed minutes we saw earlier in the week. The centre of gravity in terms of a rate decision does seem to be moving toward an earlier rise."

In Ireland, the Iseq Overall Index was barely unchanged, shedding just 5.2 points, or 0.1pc, to end the week at 4,692.02. It had been slightly ahead in earlier trading.

Movers included Bank of Ireland, which added 2.1pc to 29.1 cent. That brought the shares back to a level not seen since May and is ahead of the 24 cent the shares had fallen to last month.

Other stocks on the move included Kingspan, which rose 2.2pc, or 29 cent, to €13.58.

Irish Independent

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