Pace of growth in US deals blow to European stocks
YESTERDAY proved a disappointing end to the working week for markets as European indices retreated amid concerns about the pace of growth in the US, and as Greece's debt woes rumbled on.
European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said he hoped some debt swap agreement would be reached with creditors this month, which gives a four-day window to do so from today.
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde also said that any debt swap "has to be significant" and "at the appropriate level" to help the Greek economy get back on an even keel.
In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index swung between positive and negative territory before losing the fight by early afternoon. It entered the weekend 0.52pc, or 15.8 points lower, but stayed above the important 3,000 mark, ending the session at 3,007.54.
Movers included recruitment firm CPL Resources. It advanced 3.8pc, or 10 cent, to €2.70. The company released first-half results yesterday that showed revenue rose 28pc to €142.7m. Operating profit in the period was 27pc higher at €4.2m. Pre-tax profit in the first half rose 17pc to €4.5m. The numbers were considered strong by analysts.
CRH, the single biggest component of the index, lost 1.7pc, or 26 cent, to close at €15.31, also hurt by that weaker than expected US GDP growth data.
The US Department of Commerce said the economy expanded at a 2.8pc annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2011. That was below economists' expectations, who had pencilled in around 3pc.
Aer Lingus declined 3.7pc, or 3 cent, to 77 cent. That fall came before it emerged that plans had been put forward to freeze a pension scheme carrying a significant deficit. The scheme deals with former and current employees at Aer Lingus, the DAA and SR Technics and its deficit is a major hurdle to offloading the Government's 25.1pc stake in the airline.
National benchmark indices fell in every western European market except Iceland yesterday. The FTSE 100 slid 1.1pc, France's CAC 40 declined 1.3pc and Germany's DAX lost 0.4pc.
Oil firm BP retreated 2.6pc to 464.5p for the biggest drag on the Stoxx 600. A judge ruled that the UK oil company cannot collect from Transocean part of the $40bn in clean-up costs and economic losses caused by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.