Saturday 21 September 2019

US stocks, Smurfit and Glanbia slump

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange


With main European bourses closed for the May public holiday, action for investors on this side of the Atlantic was limited yesterday.

But US stocks were down by early afternoon there, dragged down by Pfizer results, tumbling oil prices and growing fears that tariffs and inflation would weigh on corporate profits.

Data showed US factory activity slowed for a second straight month in April, weighed down by shortages of skilled workers and rising capacity constraints, but strengthening global demand continued to support manufacturing.

However, the Institute for Supply Management survey also showed a jump in raw material costs, with steel and other prices increasing due to tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.

In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index slipped 0.1pc to 6,797.37.

Movers included financial services group IFG, which advanced 5pc to €1.68. Ryanair was almost 1pc higher at €15.65.

Decliners included Glanbia, which shed 1.4pc to €13.80 and Smurfit Kappa was down 1pc at €34.98. The packaging group faces shareholders this week at its annual general meeting amidst rebuffed efforts by US-based International Paper to buy the Irish firm.

The UK's FTSE-100 was 0.15pc higher. It had been higher early in the session.

Data showing a slowdown in UK manufacturing growth to a 17-month low sent the pound lower, giving dollar-earning firms a tailwind.

The data was the latest in a run of mediocre economic indicators for the UK and further reduced the chances of a rate increase from the Bank of England next week. Oil major BP added the most points, with a 1.8pc rise after reporting a 71pc jump in first quarter profit.

Irish Independent

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