Key markets end two days of gains
KEY EUROPEAN markets fell yesterday as Spanish region Catalonia signalled that it would shortly seek a bailout from Madrid, while Japan issued a downbeat assessment of its economy.
Catalonia says it will seek €5 billion from Spain’s central government. Last month, Madrid approved an €18 billion fund to aid regions hit by the financial crisis.
Japan’s government predicted that key indicators, such as personal consumption, housebuilding, exports, imports and industrial output in the world’s third-largest economy, would slow this year.
Markets responded by ending two days of gains.
THE ISEQ finished in line with European markets after a day that saw a reasonable amount of corporate news. Traders said there was a reasonable amount of activity, sparked partly by yesterday’s announcements and also in anticipation of numbers from Grafton and Paddy Power, which are due today.
Insurer FBD, which reported a €600,000 profits rise to €22.2 million for the first six months of the year, actually shed more than 3 per cent to close at €8.38.
Healthcare services group United Drug, which announced that it was buying two US companies for €32 million, added 1.17 per cent to close at €2.601.
Insulation specialist Kingspan was one of the biggest movers, gaining 3.24 per cent to close at €7.898. One trader pointed out that “it does not take much to move the dial” on Kingspan.
Exploration group Petroceltic, which reported a narrowing of half-year losses and a number of key corporate developments, shed 2.11 per cent to close at 9.3 cent.
Of the companies due to report today, food group, Glanbia inched up by 0.85 per cent to €6. Paddy Power stayed virtually level at €52.82, up one cent. A number of brokers’ notes predicted that the listed bookmaker is set to produce a strong set of interims today.
Builders’ merchant and DIY specialist Grafton dipped slightly, losing 0.66 per cent to €3.15. Dealers said there may have been a small element of profit-taking ahead of today’s half-year numbers.
Market heavyweight and international building materials giant CRH, which accounts for about e third of the Iseq index, was quiet, ending the day 0.45 per cent down at €14.425.
THE BENCHMARK FTSE 100 index marked the return from the bank holiday by falling less than 0.1 per cent.
G4S retreated 2 per cent to 261 pence. Net income fell to £29 million from £108 million a year earlier after failing to fulfil a staffing contract for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.