Business World

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Markets edgy as Germany and France clash over ECB

John Mulligan

IT was another day of jitters on the markets as Germany and France continued to remain at loggerheads over the future role of the European Central Bank in effectively acting as a firewall to stem the debt crisis.

Pressure on Spanish and Italian bonds eased, however, as the ECB stepped in to buy the two nations' debt.

Earlier losses yesterday were recovered to some extent in later trading as data from the United States showed that there remains an expectation that its economy will keep growing in the first part of 2012.

In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index performed in tandem with its larger European peers. It ended the day down 1.19pc, pr 31.51 points, at 2,607.11.

Among the movers yesterday were financial services group IFG, which advanced 5c to end the session at €1.10.

In an interim management statement issued by the group yesterday, IFG said that while its financial services business in the UK has been performing well against a tough backdrop, its international trust and corporate services activities have suffered. However, it also said its net debt will decline to a level it considers "negligible" by the end of this year.

Other movers included Independent News & Media, which shed 10.2pc to close at 22c. The publisher said that its markets in Ireland and South Africa are tough, with group revenue in the first 45 weeks of the year down 5.6pc. However, IN&M said it will be paying down debt in line with objectives.

National benchmark indices fell in 15 of the 18 western European markets yesterday, with Italy, Portugal and Spain the only gainers. The UK's FTSE 100 slid 1pc, while France's CAC 40 fell 0.3pc. Germany's DAX lost 0.8pc.

"Investors want to see action from politicians and a plan over how to solve the European debt problem, not just firefighting," said Lars Knudsen, who manages about $110m at LGT Capital Management in Switzerland.

"It is as much a growth problem in Europe as a debt problem. Trading will continue to be influenced by news coming from politicians."

ARM Holdings fell 3.6pc to £6.00. The maker of processor chips for Apple's iPhone expects slower growth in research spending in 2012, the 'Wall Street Journal' reported, citing an interview with ARM president Tudor Brown.

Credit Suisse Group retreated 2.9pc to SFr20.55 and KBC Groep sank 6.5pc to €10.96.

Irish Independent

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