Business World

Monday 18 December 2017

Stocks drop as Korea tension saps mood

Traders work in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
Traders work in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

Lewis Krauskopf

Stocks around the world fell sharply yesterday and investors moved into the yen, gold and other safe-haven assets amid more aggressive talk between the United States and North Korea.

European shares dropped to their lowest level since late March as cyclicals fell and some big stocks went ex-dividend, overshadowing a number of upbeat earnings reports.

Company results were back in focus after rising political tensions between the United States and North Korea hit risky assets globally on Wednesday. The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended down 1pc at 376.05, after touching 375.42, its lowest level since March 28 as basic resources and banks fell. Euro zone blue chips slipped 1.1pc.

In London, the FTSE 100 lost 1.4pc as large caps Anglo American, BT Group, Rio Tinto and Lloyds fell after going ex-dividend.

UK housebuilders Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Development fell 2.8pc to 3pc after data showed house prices grew at their weakest pace in over four years last month.

In Dublin the ISEQ index was down only marginally at 6,618.65. Germany's DAX retreated 1.2pc.

Shares gaining ground included insurer Aegon and soft drinks bottler Coca Cola, which rose 5.3pc and 9.2pc respectively after their updates.

Telecoms company SFR jumped 9.2pc after Altice raised its stake in the firm to more than 95pc and said it was planning a full buyout offer for the remaining shares.

Around 80pc of MSCI Europe firms have reported second quarter earnings so far, of which more than 60pc have either met or beaten analysts' expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Irish Independent

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