European stocks fall to a two-month low
European stocks fell to a two-month low as industrial production dropped the most in at least three years, Greece’s recession deepened, and company results from ICAP to Mediaset disappointed investors.
In Ireland, the Iseq closed down 1.71 per cent with special dividend payouts by Ryanair and DCC dragging those shares lower.
Ryanair was the biggest faller on the day, down 6.2 per cent. This reflected a 34 cent a share special dividend to investors.
Similarly, a 29.5 cent a share half-year dividend payment by diversified services group DCC saw the stock lose 3.75 per cent on the day to close at €21.80.
Clinical research company Icon, which is largely traded on the Nasdaq, was up 7.9 per cent at the close at €22.50.
The other main mover was agri food group Glanbia, which rose by 1.8 per cent in Dublin yesterday.
The company said the co-op members had approved the setting up of a joint venture that will see Glanbia separate its dairy processing business from other parts of the company.
The co-op will own 60 per cent of the joint venture and Glanbia 40 per cent.
UK stocks declined to the lowest level in more than two months as the Bank of England said the economy may contract this quarter, and companies from J Sainsbury to ICAP fell after reporting earnings.
Sainsbury tumbled the most in five months as Britain’s third-largest supermarket company said that food inflation will increase and shoppers will buy less.
ICAP sank 9.2 per cent to its lowest price since 2010 after the worlds biggest broker of transactions between banks posted a 26 per cent slump in profit.
Randgold Resources slid 5.1 per cent after the president of Ivory Coast dissolved the government.
The FTSE 100 Index retreated 64.24 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 5,722.01 at the close in London, its lowest level since September 5th.
The equity benchmark has fallen 2.8 per cent since President Barack Obama’s re-election on November 6th amid concern that the so-called fiscal cliff of impending tax increases and spending cuts will push the US economy into recession.
The FTSE All-Share Index slid 1 per cent.
Mediaset declined 2.9 per cent after the broadcaster cut its full-year profit forecast.
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena slid 5.1 per cent after posting an unexpected loss.
The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.9 per cent to 268.14 at the close of trading, its lowest level since September 5th.
National benchmark indexes declined in 14 of the 18 western-European markets yesterday.
France’s Cac 40 slipped 0.9 per cent as did Germany’s Dax
Profit has topped analysts’ forecasts at 52 per cent of the companies on the Stoxx 600 that have reported earnings since October.
US stocks fell in early trading as concern about the budget debate in Washington and an Israeli air strike in the Middle East overshadowed an advance in technology shares after Cisco Systems’s earnings topped estimates.
Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase dropped more than 1.3 per cent as financial shares sank.
Cisco, the world’s biggest maker of computer-networking equipment, surged 6.3 per cent.
Facebook jumped 9.2 per cent as investors seized on the opportunity created by the biggest increase in the number of shares freed for trading since the company went public in May.
The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.5 per cent to 1,368.26 at 12:14 pm in New York, after rising 0.4 per cent earlier.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 75.99 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 12,680.19.
(Additional reporting by Bloomberg)