Friday 23 February 2018

Shares down amid uncertainty

Laura Noonan

SHARES in Dublin's ISEQ followed the rest of Europe on their downward trend yesterday as markets anxiously awaited the outcome of crunch talks between French president Nicholas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

CRH was the most traded stock of the day, as its expectation-beating first-half results sent shares up as much as 3.6pc soon after the opening bell, before levelling out later and closing the session 1.1pc.

The cement giant now makes up more than 10pc of the Irish stock exchange, so it's strong performance yesterday was a key factor in containing ISEQ-wide losses at 0.46pc on such a volatile day.

Food companies were among the losers on the day, with sandwich maker Greencore dipping almost 6pc, while fellow food stock Aryzta fell some 2.5pc, though fruit giant Fyffes ended the day 1.3pc ahead.

On the banking front, trading volumes remained high at Bank of Ireland, with some 64 million shares changing hands, and the share price rose about 1pc to sit just below the 10 cents price of the bank's recent rights issue.

Fellow pillar bank AIB was down 4.5pc at 6.3c a share on minimal volumes, while Irish Life & Permanent was down 8.57pc at 3.2c a share on slim trade.


Both institutions are now more than 99pc owned by the State, making their remaining shares highly volatile.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 was one of the only indexes to close in positive territory, ending up 0.13pc, as insurer Standard Life rose 3.01pc, British American Tobacco climbed 1.98pc and Old Mutual rose 2.46pc.

In Germany, the DAX fell 0.45pc, as banks including Deutsche Bank (down 3.49pc) and Commerzbank (down 3.67pc) felt the brunt of investors' fears about the outcome of the Sarkozy/Merkel meetings.

France's Societe Generale avoided the financials sell-off yesterday as it continued to recover from last week's catastrophic share price fall by closing the session up 0.68pc, though the France's overall CAC 40 closed down 0.25pc as automakers Renault and Peugeot took losses.

Bond markets were relatively muted against the Franco/ German backdrop, with the UK's 10-year yield rising two basis points, France's rising one basis point, Italy's falling one basis point and Spain's coming in unchanged.

On the commodities market, energy prices fell across the board with Brent Crude down 0.67pc, and Nymex crude down 1.14pc last night.

Metals continued to rise, as gold spot prices advanced 0.94pc, platinum spot rose 0.37pc and silver spot prices rose 0.22pc.

Irish Independent

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