Thursday 23 January 2020

Irish shares edge up as bank loan fears drag down European stocks


IRISH shares inched upwards, led higher by companies such as CRH and Aminex. Shares fell elsewhere as investors fretted about the size of loans from the European Central Bank to more than 500 banks.

CRH rose 3.4pc to €14.50 as the building materials giant continues to benefit from a move to the London stock exchange and inclusion in the FTSE 100. The company was also boosted by further upbeat data on the US housing market, which also pushed up British rival Wolseley. Aminex advanced 17pc to 4.3 cents as non executive director Derek Tughan bought 1,350,000 shares in the company. Mr Tughan now holds 5,192,698 shares.

Smurfit Kappa fell 2.6pc to €4.70 as Goldman Sachs warned that the slowing world economy may crimp demand for paper packaging. Petroceltic also pared recent gains, sliding 5.3pc to 9 cent

Irish Life & Permanent was the biggest loser on the Dublin exchange; slumping 20pc to 2 cent -- a day after Fitch placed the lender on rating watch negative.

Elsewhere, European stocks fell for the first time in three days as lenders sought more funds from the ECB than economists had predicted, reducing optimism that the debt crisis would be contained.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was down 0.5pc at the close of trading. The benchmark measure rallied as much as 1.4pc after the ECB agreed to provide three-year loans to euro-area banks to keep credit flowing to the economy, before erasing its advance two hours later.

National benchmark indexes fell in 14 of the 18 western European markets.

The UK's FTSE 100 slid 0.6pc, while France's CAC 40 retreated 0.8pc and Germany's DAX declined 1pc.

Bad results from Oracle sent a chill through the market. German-based rival SAP lost 6pc, the largest decline since October 2009, and competitor Software AG fell 4.9pc.

Konecranes, the Finnish maker of container cranes, retreated 3.6pc after saying it is restructuring European operations and must cut 100 jobs.

French publisher Lagardere rose 1.9 pc amid media reports that the owner of the Europe 1 radio station has held talks with California-based private-equity firm Hellman & Friedman to sell its 20pc stake in Canal Plus for close to €1bn.

In London, blue chip retailers were unsettled by further depressing news on the high street, with Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury both down around 2pc. Chocolate producer and retailer Thorntons was the latest high street casualty, plunging 37.5pc after issuing a profit warning.

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