Friday 20 April 2018

ISEQ fails to escape EU-wide chaos

Thomas Molloy

THE ISEQ suffered its worst one-day fall in almost two months yesterday amid mounting concern about the stability of some eurozone members.

Other stock markets also fell, although one company to buck the trend was Vodafone, the mobile phone company which has thousands of Irish shareholders on its register.

The benchmark index fell 73.95 points, or 2.4pc, to close at 2951.3 points, snapping a four-day winning streak and posting the biggest percentage decline since December 8.

Shares elsewhere in Europe also plunged, with indices falling in all 18 western European markets, except Iceland. The UK's FTSE 100 retreated 2.2pc and France's CAC 40 lost 2.8pc. Germany's DAX fell 2.5pc.

Among the biggest losers in Dublin were the banks. Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland both tumbled 6.9pc as investors continued their recent flight to quality. IL&P was down 3pc to €3.01 after rival life company Aviva said Irish retail sales fell by 11pc.

Aer Lingus closed down 3.7pc to 65c while Ryanair fell 1.7pc to €3.46. Aer Lingus said yesterday it was "deeply concerned" that the Irish Airline Pilots' Association has not balloted members on a cost-cutting package.


Ryanair fell after it was downgraded to "sell" from "reduce" at AlphaValue by equity analyst Helene Coumes.

Icon was another to fall after a downgrade from the same broker. The clinical slipped 4.8pc to €18.04 after it was cut to "sell" from "reduce" at analyst Armelle Moulin.

European shares elsewhere also took a hammering as concern mounted about Portugal, Spain and Greece's budget deficits and US jobless claims unexpectedly increased.

The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index retreated 2.7pc to 242.7, the biggest drop since November 26.

Stocks began falling early in the day triggered by a bond sale in Spain and then extended losses after US jobless claims unexpectedly increased, spurring concern the economic recovery will not gain momentum.

Spanish bank Santander slid 9.4pc despite reporting increased earnings. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Spain's second-biggest lender, fell 7.5pc while Banco de Valencia plummeted 8.7pc.

UK oil giant Shell was down after it laid out plans for 1,000 extra job cuts and savings of $1bn (e720m) this year because of a "challenging" outlook for refining. Consumer products giant Unilever fell 3.5pc after reporting slower sales growth.

Bucking the trend were Zurich and Vodafone, which both reported results that topped analyst estimates. The Swiss insurer advanced 4.4pc while mobile phone company Vodafone climbed 3.6pc. Vodafone rose after it increased its full-year cash flow forecast as it benefits from cost cuts and rising sales in emerging markets.

Irish Independent

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