Friday 14 December 2018

Sterling regains some of lost ground

Traders work on the floor at the opening bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor at the opening bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange

Gavin McLoughlin/Bloomberg

Sterling advanced yesterday to regain some of the ground lost on the euro, but concern about the direction of the British currency persisted with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit on the horizon.

The currency broke back through the 90p to the euro mark - trading at 0.899 yesterday afternoon.

The Irish index of Irish shares closed down slightly, dropping almost 0.3pc to 6745.64.

A fall of more than 2pc in the heavily-weighted CRH was the biggest drag on the index. On the other side of the board, Kerry Group rose 1.9pc after a relatively solid set of results.

US stocks erased modest gains in thin early trading, while the dollar rose amid the latest salvos in the trade war with China and sanctions that torpedoed the Russian rouble.

The S&P 500 Index fell to session lows at midday in New York on volume 18pc below the 30-day average at this time. The tech-heavy Nasdaq indexes held gains as results from Viacom added to a robust earnings season.

Geopolitical tensions between the US and other countries are setting the tone for markets, with China responding to the Trump administration's latest trade war volley with additional tariffs of its own.

The rouble hit a two-year low after the US announced new sanctions on Russia over the March 4 nerve-agent attack on a former double agent in the UK.

Turkey's lira plunged to a record low and bond yields climbed as a dispute over the detention of an American pastor dragged on.

Elsewhere, oil held steady after yesterday's plunge sparked by China's decision to slap 25pc duties on US imports including petroleum products.

Irish Independent

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