Saturday 17 March 2018

Ratcheting up of Korean tensions rattles world markets

This file photo distributed by the North Korean government shows the
This file photo distributed by the North Korean government shows the "Hwasong-12," a new type of ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea. North Korea claims it is in the final stages of preparing a plan to launch four intermediate-range ballistic missiles over Japan and into waters just off the island of Guam, where about 7,000 U.S. troops are based. Photo: AP

Tullow Oil yesterday started exploring for oil and gas in Zambia, Africa's No.2 copper producer, as the country pushes to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on the industrial metal.

Zambia does not produce oil, but the government says soil samples sent to European laboratories have shown good traces of crude.

Tullow said exploration would take between two and 10 years, development three to 10 years and production 20-50 years. Shares in Tullow were down 9pc in Dublin at €1.77 each.

Elsewhere, the stand-off between the US and North Korea has shaken investors this week.

The ISEQ index closed down 0.57pc yesterday at 6581.16. The damage inflicted on world stocks this week by the escalating war of words over North Korea topped $1 trillion yesterday, as investors again took cover in the yen, the Swiss franc, gold and government bonds.

With the tense mood pushing European shares down for a third day, global stocks were on course for their worst week since Donald Trump won November's US presidential election. Wall Street edged higher during the first few hours of trading there, however.

Japanese markets were closed for a holiday yesterday, but the yen powered on, hitting an eight-week high of 108.91 yen to the dollar, adding to its biggest weekly gain since May.

In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index shed 0.57pc to close at 6,518.16. Movers included packaging giant Smurfit Kappa, which advanced 1.37pc to €24.53. Shares in Permanent TSB rose 2pc to €1.94. Decliners included Glanbia, which closed 2.8pc lower a day after it released solid first-half results. Insulation maker Kingspan was down 1.4pc at €28.50.

The UK's FTSE-100 closed 1.1pc lower. Germany's DAX was unchanged, while France's CAC-40 lost 1pc. The FTSE-100's performance this week was its worst weekly performance since March.

Irish Independent

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