Wednesday 13 December 2017

ISEQ falls back fours day in a row

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares fell for a fourth day as doubts about a possible bid for Elan hit trading. By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index had slid 0.2pc, or 7.06 points, to 3,873.56.

It could have been much worse, however. The index plunged at the opening in line with other European markets and continued to struggle throughout the day.

But better-than-expected US retail sales provided some support in the afternoon.

Yesterday was the first time since April that the market had closed in negative territory four days in a row.

Elan led the market lower. The pharmaceuticals firm, which is locked in a battle to defend itself against a hostile bid from US firm Royalty Pharma, warned that the offer for the company could lapse on June 17 if a number of resolutions at the Irish company's EGM that day pass. Shares in Elan slid 5.2pc to €9.29.

Bank shares continued to struggle. Outgoing deputy governor of the Central Bank Matthew Elderfield told lawmakers the lenders here would struggle to match capital requirements under the EU's Basel III directive.

Bank of Ireland continued a tough week, falling 2.5pc to 16c, while Allied Irish Bank dipped 1pc to 7c.

Few stocks made significant moves yesterday, although Independent News & Media surged 12.1pc to 4c.

Cider maker C&C jumped 7pc to €4.75, shaking off a bearish note from Citibank that warned its US business was struggling.

Elsewhere, European stocks were little changed as better-than-estimated US retail sales data offset investor speculation that this year's rally had overshot the outlook for company earnings.

National benchmark indices fell in 11 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 added 0.1pc, France's CAC 40 rose 0.1pc, while Germany's DAX lost 0.6pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.1pc.

"We've had very low volatility in this market rally and now we're getting more volatility," said Tim Harris, head of investments at Lloyds TSB."

RBS fell 3.3pc after CEO Stephen Hester was ousted as the state-controlled British bank prepares for privatisation.

Separately, RBS said in an emailed statement to staff that it planned to cut more jobs at its investment bank as it exits its equity derivatives and structured retail-products businesses.

Home Retail tumbled 9pc after saying it expected consumer spending to remain subdued this year.

Same-store sales at Argos stores rose 1.9pc in the 13 weeks ended June 1, missing estimates.

Financial-services companies declined, led by Jupiter Fund Management, which dropped 1.7pc.

Aberdeen Asset Management retreated 1.6pc and Deutsche Boerse dropped 1.3pc.

Irish Independent

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