Tuesday 20 March 2018

Markets flat as all eyes fixed on Brussels

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Photo: Reuters
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Markets traded flat yesterday, as global investors continue to wait on the outcome of Greek debt negotiations taking place in Brussels.

In the US, a Supreme Court ruling upholding so-called Obamacare tax subsidies boosted healthcare stocks to fresh highs yesterday, but eleswhere equity markets were little changed.

Oil prices fell on concerns over the possible impact of Greece's debt crisis on European energy demand and the prospect of Iranian oil adding to a global glut if sanctions are lifted.

Greece's international creditors presented a cash-for-reform proposal to Eurozone finance ministers in a showdown with Athens, after negotiations failed to yield a plan to avert a default.

"There is still a bit of optimism left that a deal can be done... A failure to reach a deal is certainly not priced into the market just yet," Peregrine & Black's Markus Huber said. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 25.12 points to 17,991.19, the S&P 500 gained 4.76 points, or 0.23pc, to 2,113.34 and the Nasdaq Composite added 13.96 points, or 0.27pc, to 5,136.37.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.2pc.

In Dublin, the Iseq index was down 0.11pc at 6348.

Petroceltic stock was down 9.6pc to €1.53, while on the other side of the board Bank of Ireland was up to 1.68pc to 37.1 cents. Mincon, Hibernia Reit and Petroneft were all stronger.

All eyes are on Greece though, where there is still optimism a deal can be done ahead of a debt repayment due next Wednesday, but the risk of failure means many are keeping investment powder dry pending the outcome of talks now set to run into tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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