Markets fall on weak Chinese trade

Sat, Aug 11, 2012, 01:00

GLOBAL SHARES lost momentum yesterday, falling for the first time in five days on the back of weak Chinese trade data, although declines were limited by expectations that policymakers could act to shore up the world’s economies.

The euro fell and yields on bonds of peripheral euro zone countries such as Spain also increased.

IRELAND

THE ISEQ index rose 0.4 per cent to finish at 3,240 yesterday.

Bank of Ireland was the main subject of investor attention after the bank reported first-half results behind expectations, due mainly to lower margins. The stock was trading lower throughout the session, although it recovered somewhat at the end of the day, finishing off 3 per cent at €0.095.

Kingspan was the other big mover, after the insulation company announced two acquisitions in Europe and the Middle East, significantly solidifying its presence in both regions. The stock closed up 5 per cent at €7.084.

Kerry Group built on its strong performance on Thursday after the group upped its full-guidance for the year on the back of a strong first-half performance. The stock rose 1.3 per cent to €39.00.

Paddy Power also advanced, adding 2.5 per cent to close at €55.72 ahead of results later this month.

LONDON

MOST UK stocks fell, halting the longest winning streak for the FTSE 100 Index since March, as a collapse in Chinese export growth added to concern the global economy is slowing.

Bunzl dropped 4.6 per cent as UBS recommended investors sell the shares, citing a 32 per cent advance in the shares this year.

Flybe Group led airlines lower, sinking 14 per cent, after Europe’s biggest regional airline said full-year sales m would grow no more than 2 per cent, less than previously predicted, clipped by a sluggish European economy.

Flybe revised its outlook after demand for business flights from Britain to continental Europe showed “signs of weakness” in the first quarter, it said in a statement.

International Consolidated Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, retreated 1.1 per cent to 149.7 pence while EasyJet declined 0.3 per cent to 555.5 pence, paring losses of as much as 1.9 per cent.

Barclays paced advancing shares after the lender appointed a new chairman. The benchmark FTSE 100 fell 4.4 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 5,847.11 at the close in London, snapping five days of gains.

The volume of shares changing hands on the FTSE 100 was 29 per cent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to Bloomberg.

EUROPE

MOST EUROPEAN stocks fell, even as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index completed its 10th successive weekly gain, as worse-than-estimated Chinese trade data added to evidence the global economy is slowing.

Bankia led retreating shares after a 128 per cent rally in the past 11 days. Mediobanca, Italy’s biggest publicly traded investment bank, added 11 per cent. Credit Agricole rose 12 per cent.

ThyssenKrupp climbed 5.8 per cent as Germany’s biggest steelmaker, which sold its insulation business to Kingspan, reported its first profit in four quarters.

The Stoxx 600 fell 0.1 per cent as more than three stocks on the gauge slid for every two that rose. The benchmark gauge still gained 1.6 per cent this week, its 10th week of increases, amid better-than-estimated company earnings.

National benchmark indexes dropped in 14 of the 18 western- European markets.

US

THE S&P 500 finished slightly higher on Friday to run its streak to six straight sessions, but activity was light and gains were slight as the market enters a seasonally slow period.

Going nowhere were shares of Manchester United in its trading debut. The stock closed at $14, same as the initial public offering price. The IPO garnered some attention because of the high profile of the English football club, but trading volume diminished shortly after it opened for trading.

The stock priced well below its expected range on Thursday, valuing the British soccer club at $2.3 billion.

Yahoo shares fell 5.4 per cent to $15.15 a day after it said it may reconsider what it did with the cash it got from a multibillion-dollar sale of half of its stake in Alibaba Group. Yahoo previously promised to return most of the cash to shareholders.

Research In Motion’s US- traded shares rose 6.3 per cent to $8.29 after it was reported IBM has considered buying RIM’s enterprise division.

Fusion-io shares jumped nearly 28 per cent to $26.86 after the company’s projection of strong growth over the next year and the storage-drive maker handily beat fourth-quarter profit estimates.

JC Penney shares rose 5.9 per cent to $23.40 as the company said its second-quarter results showed a slowing in the flight of long-time customers reacting to a new pricing policy. – (Additional reports: Bloomberg/Reuters)