Euro continues advance against dollar
The euro gained against the dollar yesterday en route to its best monthly performance in more than a year while US stocks were flat in muted trading, with investors reluctant to make large bets ahead of key jobs figures today.
It has been a good month for the Iseq and positivity is in plentiful supply following an outperformance of its European counterparts. The good feeling didn’t translate into a strong finish yesterday however, with the index closing more or less flat at 3,546.33.
Yesterday, the prime mover was CRH which closed up 0.25 to finish at €15.91. Everything else remained relatively flat although there was good volume in Ryanair, which closed slightly down 0.08 at €5.50. Smurfit closed down 0.28 at €10.22. And Grafton finished slightly off by 0.06 to finish at €4.31.
The FTSE closed down 46.23 points, or 0.7 per cent at 6,276.88.
The market’s top shares closed lower as downbeat company earnings and mixed global economic data triggered the sharpest one-day fall on the FTSE 100 since mid-November.
Earnings were in focus after updates from British oil heavyweight Royal Dutch Shell and drugmaker AstraZeneca disappointed.
Shell alone took 16 points off the FTSE 100 index after its fourth quarter profit came in nearly $400 million short of expectations.
AstraZeneca shed 3.1 per cent after warning of a tough year ahead while temporary power provider Aggreko took its losses over the last five days to more than 11 per cent.
British banks, meanwhile, face another round of compensation claims that could total billions after the regulator found they had miss-sold complex interest-rate hedging products to small businesses. Royal Bank of Scotland shed 1.1 per cent.
Stocks fell for a second day as companies from AstraZeneca to Banco Santander slipped back after reporting earnings.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index retreated 0.5 per cent to 287.22 at the close as more than two stocks fell for every one that rose.
National benchmark indexes retreated in 15 of the 18 western-European markets. Frances CAC 40 dropped 0.9 per cent and Germany’s DAX lost 0.5 per cent.
AstraZeneca slid 3.2 per cent to 3,053p. Santander declined 3.5 per cent to €6.18 as Spain’s largest lender set aside money for further loan losses in its home market. Anheuser-Busch InBev tumbled 7.8 per cent to €63.90, its biggest drop since January 2009.
TeliaSonera AB slid 1.7 per cent to 45.89 kronor as Sweden’s largest phone company said that fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and one-off items declined 3.2 per cent to 8.97 billion kronor.
Mobile telecom gear maker Ericsson outperformed the broader market fall by surging 7.6 per cent to the top of the FTSEurofirst 300 after a sales recovery at its key networks unit raised hopes of a turnaround at the group.
Stocks slipped for a second day following a higher than forecast increase in jobless claims and disappointing earnings. Commodities recovered from early losses, while treasuries were little changed.
United Parcel Service slid 1.9 per cent on a profit forecast that trailed estimates. Facebook lost 3 per cent as profit dropped on higher spending. Qualcomm and JDS Uniphase rallied at least 4.5 per cent.
UPS shares lost 2.1 per cent to $79.49 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that were below analysts’ estimates.
The SP 500 has advanced more than 5 per cent in January after legislators in Washington sidestepped tax increases and spending cuts that could have derailed the recovery.
In commodities, gasoline slumped 0.9 per cent to $3.0117 a gallon, while crude oil slipped 0.6 per cent to $97.37 a barrel. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters)