European stocks retreat for third day
With US markets closed for President’s Day, it was a quiet day across Europe yesterday, with volumes down by as much as 50 per cent. In Britain, Greencore recovered some of the ground it lost on Friday due to the horse meat scandal.
In Dublin, Paddy Power was the main story on the Irish market as it reached an all-time high of €65.08. It advanced by 58 cent, or almost 1 per cent yesterday, on average trading volumes.
Elsewhere, volumes were down considerably, with index heavyweight CRH trading at about 60 per cent of its average volumes. It added seven cent, or 0.4 per cent, to close up at €16.17.
Airline Ryanair closed flat on the day, after some movement during the day, which saw it drop three cent at one point.
Kingspan was weak on the day, without any real news flow. It gave up 24 cent, or 2.6 per cent, to close down at €8.86, with brokers attributing the decline to profit-taking, after the stock came close to a 52-week high.
British stocks declined as mining companies fell, offsetting a signal by finance ministers from the Group of 20 nations that Japan has scope for further monetary stimulus. Anglo American contributed the most to the FTSE 100 Index’s retreat, as it lost 10.07 points, or 0.2 per cent, to fall to 6,318.19 at the close in London.
“Things are lacklustre today and the earnings season has disappointed investors,” Gerard Lane, a strategist at Shore Capital Group in Liverpool said, adding, “Volumes are quite low, which is down to the half-term holiday in the UK and also US markets being closed today.”
After plummeting on Friday following the withdrawal of its meat product from supermarket shelves, Greencore recovered some ground yesterday, adding 8 per cent to close at 100 pence.
Anglo American retreated by 2.8 per cent to 1,983 pence after its South African unit said that security officials shot nine workers during fighting at a mine in Rustenburg. There were no fatalities and the injured employees received medical attention, Anglo American Platinum said in a statement.
A gauge of mining stocks in the FTSE 350 Index fell 0.9 percent as copper prices declined 1.1 per cent in London.
Rio Tinto, the world’s second-biggest mining company, slipped by 0.6 per cent to 3,711 pence. Antofagasta, the metals producer owned by Chile’s Luksic family, slid 1.9 per cent to 1,098 pence.
IAG lost 3.7 pence to 224.2 pence after 18,500 employees at its Iberia unit went on strike, the largest industrial dispute in the Spanish carrier’s history. Iberia’s unions have called 15 days of stoppages this month to protest against the airline’s decision to reduce operations and eliminate 3,147 jobs.
Carnival lost 1.7 per cent to 2,462 pence after the New York Times reported that the company will begin a detailed inspection of its Triumph ship, which was towed to shore last week following a fire. About 3,100 passengers had been trapped aboard the cruise ship after the engine-room fire off the coast of Mexico cut its power.
European stocks retreated for a third day as companies including Carlsberg missed earnings estimates and European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said he sees risks to the euro area’s recovery.
Mr Draghi said that while he expects economic weakness at the beginning of the year to be followed by a “very gradual” recovery later in 2013, risks remain to the economic outlook for the euro region. “They relate to the possibility of weaker than expected domestic demand and exports, slow implementation of structural reforms in the euro area, as well as geopolitical issues and imbalances in major industrialised countries,” he told lawmakers in the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday.
In France, the Cac 40 added 0.2 per cent, while Germanys Dax gained 0.5 per cent.– (Additional reporting Bloomberg /Reuters)