Chinese manufacturing slips on US Fed data
Iseq closes out quiet session up 0.19% as European values trim losses at close
Aer Lingus: Closed the day down 0.68 per cent at just under €1.61. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh
The Iseq treaded water on a quiet day of trading as European stocks generally closed little changed, trimming losses in the final minutes of trading.
Data yesterday showed Chinese manufacturing shrank for a second month and US Federal Reserve minutes signalled stimulus cuts will continue.
US stocks rose as better-than- forecast growth in an American manufacturing gauge tempered concern about the global economy. The $19 billion Whatsapp purchase by Facebook also sparked deals optimism.
The Iseq rose just 0.2 per cent yesterday. Datalex, the travel technology company backed by the financier Dermot Desmond, was one of the best performers on the day. It rose 4 per cent. The company recently announced several new partnerships with international airlines, including JetBlue.
CRH fell slightly by 0.17 per cent as investors await the company’s annual results, due next Tuesday. Results today from its rival Saint Goban showed that it performed strongly in the second half odf the year, boding well for CRH. The Irish stock also shrugged off data showing a weakening in the level of contract awards last month for new highways in the US.
Aer Lingus closed the day down 0.68 per cent at just under €1.61. Confusion reigns over the future of the airline’s pension scheme, jointly held with DAA workers. The scheme’s trustees warned yesterday that members face bigger benefit reductions if workers don’t back a rescue.
BAE dropped 8.3 per cent to 400.4 pence. Europe’s largest defence company said earnings per share will decline 5 per cent to 10 per cent in 2014 because of the pressure on the US to contain its budget.
Rexam retreated 1.8 per cent to 515 pence. Jefferies Group said earnings estimates for the packaging company may need to be trimmed to reflect currency fluctuations. Jefferies made the observation after Rexam said underlying sales from continuing operations rose 1 per cent in 2013.
Vedanta Resources dropped 5.7 per cent to 858 pence. HSBC Holdings downgraded the oil and metal producer controlled by Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal citing sluggish cash flow and weaker earnings from its most important divisions.
Randstad fell 11 per cent to €44, its worst retreat since March 2009. The world’s second-largest staffing company posted fourth-quarter sales that missed projections. Rabobank International downgraded the saying profit trailed its estimate.
The tour operator TUI slid 5.4 per cent to €13.02, its biggest decline since August. Monteray Enterprise, controlled by trusts of Norwegian shipping magnate John Fredriksen’s family, sold 39.7 million shares in the company for €521 million.
Suez Environnement advanced 6.3 per cent to €14.01, rising the most in 14 months. The second-largest European water company said net income rose 40 per cent to €352 million in 2013, beating analyst estimates.
Safeway added 4 per cent to $36 as it considers a sale. CVC Capital Partners and Leonard Green and Partners are among the firms in talks with Safeway about buying some or all of the grocery chain as it weighs a sale, according to Bloomberg. The second-largest U.S. grocery-store chain said it plans to distribute its remaining 37.8 million shares of the Blackhawk Network Holdings gift-card business to Safeway investors and explore ways to monetise its 49 percent stake in Mexican retailer Casa Ley.
Tesla jumped 8.1 per cent to a record $209.34. The electric- car maker said Model S deliveries will increase to 35,000 this year as sales to China begin, from about 22,450 last year. Tesla posted fourth-quarter earnings of 33 cents a share excluding some items.
Facebook slipped 2 per cent to $66.70 as the world’s biggest social network said it will pay $12 billion in stock, $4 billion in cash and $3 billion in restricted shares for WhatsApp. It is the largest Internet deal since Time Warner’s $124 billion merger with AOL in 2001.
(Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters)