Business World

Sunday 25 February 2018

Irish shares rise despite Greek crisis

Commerzbank is Germany's second largest bank. Photo: Getty Images
Commerzbank is Germany's second largest bank. Photo: Getty Images

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares rose slightly yesterday, as ongoing concerns about the Greek crisis offset potential gains from positive economic data around the world.

By the close of trading in Dublin the ISEQ Overall Index had climbed 0.6pc, or 15.09 points, to 2,518.28.

The market slumped at the opening after the latest NCB Purchasing Managers' Index fell last month and the index stayed in negative territory for most of the day before a late rally tracking the US market boosted shares.

Aryzta was one of the big winners yesterday, with the par-baked foods company continuing to bask in the glow of strong annual results it released last week. The stock climbed 4.9pc to €33.44.

Construction giant CRH added 2.19pc to close at €11.90 after US manufacturing data was reported to be better than expected. The company is also expected to profit from a construction programme aimed at creating jobs, which is being debated in the US.

Those gains were enough to tip the index into positive territory but few other shares made advances of significance, as the problems in Greece and the poor PMI here held gains back.

Exploration companies struggled as oil continued to fall on fears of a global economic slowdown. In London, Brent Crude futures fell to $101.40.


Those lower prices -- crude was down to $77.92 in New York -- forced the commodities players down. PetroNeft slipped 8.15pc to 25c while Dragon Oil slumped 4.26pc to €5.40.

Elsewhere, European stocks fell for a second day, extending shares' biggest quarterly drop since 2008, as concern deepened that the region's debt crisis would curb growth.

National benchmark indices retreated in all 18 western European markets, except for Ireland. Germany's DAX slumped 2.6pc, France's CAC 40 declined 2.1pc and the UK's FTSE 100 lost 1.3pc. The Stoxx 600 lost 1.2pc. "We need to see some action in the next one or two months, or it will be too late to avoid a recession," said Philipp Baertschi, chief strategist at Bank Sarasin in Zurich.

Some equity strategists say this year's 19pc slump in European equities doesn't match the companies' profits outlook.

"The market has overreacted to concerns of slowing growth, and sentiment has moved to depressed levels," said Ian Scott, a global strategist at Nomura.

BHP Billiton dropped 2.5pc and Rio Tinto declined 3pc. Copper fell as much as 5.5pc to $6,635 a tonne in London, its lowest price since July 2010.

Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest lender, sank 6.6pc and France's Societe Generale lost 4.8pc. Barclays, Britain's second-largest bank by assets, retreated 3.3pc.

Dexia plunged 9.5pc as Moody's placed the lender's three main operating entities on review for possible downgrade.

Irish Independent

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