Business World

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Traders enjoy volatility - but not this much

Greencore CEO Patrick Coveney Photo: Peter Houlihan
Greencore CEO Patrick Coveney Photo: Peter Houlihan
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

Three weeks into 2016, it's clear that this is not the benign investing atmosphere of the past few years, when every security basically increased in value, and never really looked like going down.

That's what quantitative easing can do around the world after a crisis, and in the US and UK, it worked.

QE combined with a Chinese economy that seemed to be growing relentlessly to push up prices for stocks and commodities such as oil along with pretty much any other asset class you could think of, whether it was office blocks in Dublin or palm oil in South America.

Those good times seem to be coming to an end, however. The problems in China are causing volatility in the markets now reminiscent of the depths of the financial crisis. Volatility is good for trading, until things get too volatile.

European markets finished last week with their strongest two days since 2011 but things haven't settled down just yet. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index has registered moves of more than 1pc on 10 out of 15 trading days so far this year. This is an index that historically has moved in the range of 0.1pc or 0.2pc. The volatility is enormous.

Expect this uncertainty to spill into Week Four. There is no end in sight just yet.

On paper at least, this week is more akin to what financial professionals expect in January.

Here, Greencore will hold its annual general meeting tomorrow. Expect shareholders to be happy with Patrick Coveney's performance over the past 12 months.

His decision to shift the company's stock market listing from Dublin to London four years ago is looking more and more like a masterstroke. Back then the company's shares traded at less than €1. Today trading will open at 352 pence.

The company has been boosted by its Starbucks contract in the US and growth in international markets. There should be little criticism of Mr Coveney tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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