Wednesday 21 February 2018

Portuguese cabinet cracks send Irish shares falling

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

IRISH shares fell yesterday in line with stocks across Europe amid fears for the stability of Portugal's coalition government.

By early afternoon in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was down 1.45pc, or 58.47 points, to 3963.00.

The fall came despite new figures showing the services sector enjoyed growth for a successive 11th month in June with the pace of expansion accelerating.

But the Dublin market suffered amid eurozone-wide fears for Portugal as well as a 10pc drop in the value of shares in C&C.

The drinks giant led the laggards by early afternoon, down 10.1pc to €3.72 after the company admitted profits would be at the lower end of forecasts this year amid deepening problems in its main markets.

In an interim management statement, C&C said trading in its core Irish and UK markets was difficult during the first three months of its fiscal year and is expected to remain so for the remainder of the year.

Ryanair slipped 1.3pc to €7.37 while fruit company Fyffes fell 1.4pc to €0.70.

On the other side of the board, it was a good start to the day for most oil and gas exploration companies with Providence Resources up 6pc to €6.65, Dragon Oil up 3.6pc to €7.27 and Petroceltic increasing 1.9pc to €1.63.

Shipping group Irish continental jumped 1.1pc to €22.75, while Aer Lingus rose 0.6pc to €1.55 as it announced details of its new route to San Francisco.

Elsewhere, European stocks dropped the most in more than a week amid the fallout from Portugal, and as crude oil surged above $100 (€77) a barrel amid rising political unrest in Egypt.

Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said he's trying to hold his government together after losing both his finance minister and foreign minister.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 1pc by early afternoon in London. National benchmark indexes retreated in all the 18 western European markets except Iceland.

The UK's FTSE 100 lost 1.6pc. France's CAC 40 dropped 1.5pc and Germany's DAX slid 1.6pc.

"With disorder and uncertainty over the political situation in Egypt threatening stability in the Middle East, and a Greek deadline looming to prove it can action its bailout conditions before receiving the next tranche of aid, volatility is likely to be high," said Mark Ward, head of trading at Sanlam Securities.

Banco Espirito Santo and Banco Comercial Portugues both tumbled at least 10pc as Portugal's 10-year bond yield climbed above 8pc for the first time since November.

Irish Independent

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