Business World

Sunday 17 December 2017

Market shrugs off the double Dutch

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRISH shares were little changed yesterday, as the market here shrugged off comments from the head of the group of eurozone finance ministers that had seen most other European indices pare gains made early on Monday.

The ISEQ Overall Index of Irish shares closed up just 0.17pc or 6.57 points, at 3,932.11.

The index had looked set for a much bigger gain early in the session, trading as high as 3,980 at one point.

Trading fell back sharply after comments from Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem that suggested deposits of more than €100,000 could be at risk in future in any eurozone bank that needs a rescue package.

Speaking to reporters after a rescue package for Cyprus had been agreed, Mr Dijsselbloem, who leads the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, said the plan to use deposits to fund a rescue could be employed in the future.

The comments were later "clarified" in a separate statement that called the Cyprus deal a one-off.

Shares in Permanent TSB jumped 9.73pc yesterday. The bailed-out bank is due to release its financial results for 2012 today.

Shares in Independent News & Media surged 5.7pc after the owner of the Irish Independent said it is confident of reaching a deal with its banks to refinancing and restructuring its loans.

Glanbia added 1.96pc to €8.80. The food group posted strong annual results last week.

Almost as many stocks fell as rose yesterday. The insurer FBD slid 1.2pc to €12.20, while speciality baker Aryzta dropped 0.9pc to €43.30.

Elsewhere though European stocks declined as the Dutch finance minister's comments sparked concern that a rescue plan for Cyprus sets a precedent for other euro-area lenders.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.3pc, while national benchmark indexes fell in 13 of the 17 western European markets open. The UK's FTSE 100 Index lost 0.2pc, while Italy's FTSE MIB slipped 2.5pc and France's CAC 40 Index slid 1.1pc. Germany's DAX retreated 0.5pc. Stock markets in Greece and Cyprus remained closed.

Stocks pared gains after Dijsselbloem's comments fuelled concern that the conditions of the bailout may set a precedent for other euro-area lenders.

"Strengthen your banks, fix your balance sheets and realise that if a bank gets in trouble, the response will no longer automatically be that we'll come and take away your problem," Mr Dijsselbloem said. "We're going to push them back."

Italian lenders were among the biggest decliners on the Stoxx 600 and trading in them was briefly halted in Milan. Intesa Sanpaolo dropped 6.2pc, while Banco Popolare lost 5.9pc. UniCredit, the nation's biggest bank, declined 5.8pc, its lowest price in four months.

Vodafone rose 2pc. Europe's largest mobile-phone operator held talks with Verizon to sell its stake.

Irish Independent

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