Shares fall further on quake fears
Most European markets took a further pummelling yesterday, with stocks hitting a three-month low on continuing fears over the potential economic fallout from Japan's catastrophic earthquake.
But ratings agency Moody's said that while the world's third biggest economy will face short-term fiscal issues, the quake has "limited ratings implications" for banks and other companies in the country. The agency also said that capital spending to restore damaged areas should be manageable for the government.
The ISEQ Overall Index shed 0.85pc, or 24.16 points, to end the day at 2820.72, continuing a decline that saw the index lose 2.5pc of its value last week.
Notable movers included Bank of Ireland, which added 4pc, or 1.2 cent, to close at 31.2 cent, while United Drug rose 2.5pc, or 6 cent, to €2.44. Ferry operator Irish Continental, which released strong full-year results yesterday, was flat at €17.60.
Shares in Irish-Swiss bakery group Aryzta, which reported a 52pc rise in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to €173.1m in the six months to the end of January, fell almost 1pc, or 32 cent, in Dublin to €33.60, while in Switzerland they were unchanged.
Big fallers yesterday included mining firm Kenmare Resources, which was down 8.8pc, or 4 cent, to 41.5 cent. The producer of ilmenite -- the raw material to make titanium -- has been hammered on markets since the beginning of this month, when its shares were trading at 50 cent.
Aer Lingus lost further ground despite oil prices easing following Japan's earthquake. It was 3.6pc lower at 79 cent.
Benchmark indices fell in most western European countries, with the exception of Greece and Portugal.
The UK's FTSE-100 slipped almost 1pc to 5775.24, while Germany's DAX fared horrendously, falling 1.65pc. France's CAC-40 declined 1.3pc.
Greece's ASE Composite index rose 5.2pc, with shares in Pireaus Bank climbing 9pc and those in National Bank of Greece rising 10.1pc. Portugal's PSI 20 added 0.9pc.
In France, Renault shed 6.3pc after it emerged that the company may have been a victim of fraud. One of its security agents is being investigated after he falsely concocted industrial espionage claims against executives, it is alleged.
Insurers were again badly hit over the expected costs to firms of Japan's quake, with shares of Swiss Re falling 4.5pc while Hannover Re declined 2pc and Scor slumped 3.4pc. Shares in French nuclear-reactor maker Areva tumbled 9.6pc.
Meanwhile, alternative energy firms were boosted, with shares in Danish wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas adding 7.4pc and those in German firm SolarWorld climbing 13pc.