Business World

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Stocks fall across EU on back of poor US economic data

People look at an electronic board at a brokerage house in Shanghai as China's key stock index rose yesterday
People look at an electronic board at a brokerage house in Shanghai as China's key stock index rose yesterday

Thomas Molloy

IRISH stocks fell yesterday in a lacklustre session dominated by poor economic data from the US. The ISEQ closed down 32.31 points, or 1.1pc, at 2911.52 points as stocks fell across the continent.

National benchmark indexes fell in 13 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 retreated 0.9pc and Germany's DAX lost 0.5pc. France's CAC 40 gained 0.1pc.

The biggest percentage decline was posted by Zamano, the maker of so-called apps for mobile phones, which issued what amounted to a profit warning last week.

The shares slid 10pc to 4.5c after they were downgraded to "hold" from "buy" at NCB Stockbrokers by analyst Kevin Fogarty. His 12-month target price is 4c per share.

Other shares to post declines included Icon which fell 4pc to €19.20 after Davy analyst Jack Gorman said investors would need more patience following the company's announcement on Tuesday that 2010 profit would be at the low end of previous guidance.

CRH, which has the biggest weighting on the index, slid 2.1pc to €16.15 as investors continued to fret about demand for concrete and other building materials in its home market here in Ireland and its largest market overseas, the US, where CRH makes half its profit

One stock that continues to defy the gloom is Tullow, which added 1.5pc to close at €15.26 following news of yet another oil discovery. The shares have jumped 8.1pc this week, adding €1bn to the company's value in three days.

Stocks also slid elsewhere in Europe, halting a six-day rally for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, as an unexpected decline in orders for US durable goods overshadowed better-than-estimated company earnings.

Yell Group showed retreating shares, slumping 19pc after the publisher posted a drop in profit.

Nexans lost 8.5pc after the world's biggest maker of cables and wires reported narrowing first-half margins. Invensys led technology-related shares lower after announcing a charge for its rail business.

The Stoxx 600 fell 0.4pc by the close in London, reversing an earlier rally of as much as 0.6pc. The gauge has declined 5.5pc from this year's high on April 15 amid concern that austerity measures from indebted European governments will harm the economic recovery.

European stocks extended losses after a US Commerce Department report showed orders for durable goods in the world's largest economy unexpectedly dropped by 1pc. Economists had forecast orders would climb by 1pc.

Credit Suisse cut its forecast for gains in US stocks by the end of this year while advising clients to stay "overweight" on equities as economic growth and earnings support the market.

"Even if we assume a slight further weakening of the economy, equities are looking cheap," Andrew Garthwaite, the head of global equity strategy at Credit Suisse wrote.

"The preconditions for a double-dip in the US are not in place. Equities are discounting a scenario somewhere between a soft landing and a mild hard landing."

Irish Independent

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