ISEQ falls after earthquake in Japan
IRISH shares fell in line with equities elsewhere after a strong earthquake shook Japan and the European Central Bank raised rates but signalled it was not necessarily the start of a round of hikes.
The ISEQ was down 15.8 points, or 0.5pc, at 2,965.62 in a lacklustre session which saw the banks bounce up and down, but few stocks of any value post real gains or losses.
Irish stocks erased an earlier advance after the earthquake hit 215 miles northeast of Tokyo, resulting in warnings of a possible tsunami. The quake was measured at a depth of about 25 miles and struck. The most traded stocks were CRH, Ryanair, Kerry and Elan, but few posted any significant movements.
Elsewhere, US and European stocks fell after an earthquake measuring 7.4 shook northeast and eastern Japan. Japan is the world's third-largest economy and investors feared the new quake could harm global recovery.
"We started to drop on this earthquake news out of Japan. It seems to be generating a bit of jitteriness and has caused people to take a bit of profit," said Nick Kalivas, senior equity index analyst at MF Global in Chicago.
"In a couple hours from now if it looks like damage is minimal, the market the will go back to trading economics as opposed to earthquakes."
European shares had earlier gained after Portugal's request for aid fostered hopes the region's debt crisis will be staunched. The pan-European European FTSEurofirst 300 stock index was down 0.2pc. Portugal's stock market bucked the trend, the PSI 20 index up 1.2pc.
The Stoxx 600 declined 0.3pc to 280.78 at the close in London, erasing an earlier gain.
National benchmark indexes declined in 12 out of 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 lost 0.6pc and Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 slid 0.5pc. Portugal's PSI 20 rallied 1.2pc as the nation became the third to ask for EU assistance, following Greece and Ireland.
Hochtief tumbled 7.9pc after Germany's biggest builder warned of losses at its Australian unit. BMW led motor-industry shares lower. Halfords sank the most in six months after the UK retailer said profit may miss estimates. Banks limited the sell-off after Portugal sought a bailout from the European Union.
Banks limited yesterday's stock market losses. Banco Espirito Santo, Portugal's biggest publicly traded lender by market value, climbed 4.2pc, the largest gain in three months. Banco Comercial Portugues rose 4.1pc.
National Bank of Greece, whose shares have tumbled 45pc in the past year, jumped 3.9pc, helping Greece's ASE Index to a 1.5pc advance.