Markets slip as Christmas wind-down begins

Smurfit Kappa bounces back in quiet day on Dublin exchange

Preferred shares of Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest auto-maker, fell 1.6 per cent to €190.60. Photograph: Paulo Fridman/Bloomberg

Preferred shares of Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest auto-maker, fell 1.6 per cent to €190.60. Photograph: Paulo Fridman/Bloomberg

Wed, Dec 11, 2013, 01:00

The Dublin exchange rose marginally by 0.08 per cent on a day when most exchanges slipped back as the year heads towards wind-down and investors continued to fret over what will happen if the US Federal Reserve decides to pull back on its stimulus package.

It was a quiet day on the Dublin exchange, with traders speaking of end-of-year profit-taking and a welcome bounce back in the Smurfit Kappa share price after what they believed was an overdone reaction to events in Venezuela.

The government of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has temporarily taken over a packaging plant owned by Smurfit Kappa for alleged price speculation. The stock had lost almost €1 in value on the Dublin exchange, which traders thought an over-reaction given that the South American country contributes only 4 per cent of the groups EBITA. Yesterday the stock bounced back, closing at €16.28, a rise of 2.71 per cent.

Other than that there was little by way of action. Bank of Ireland closed at €0.26, a rise of 0.39 per cent. Kerry closed at €49.25, a rise of 1.07 per cent.

Aryzta closed down 0.20 per cent at €53.8, and Glanbia fell 0.63 per cent, to close at €11.12. CRH fell 0.51 per cent to €17.49.

UK stocks declined, following two days of gains, as a slowdown in Chinese industrial production last month outweighed data showing UK output rose for a second month in October.

The FTSE 100 index slid 36.17 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 6,523.31 .

TUI Travel dropped 1.5 per cent to 378.3 pence. Europe’s largest tour operator said it expected its first-half loss to widen this year due to a later Easter and forecast its French unit would break even in 2015.

Tullow Oil dropped 1.8 per cent to 853.5 pence after Credit Suisse cut its price estimate for the driller focused on Africa and Latin America by 5.5 per cent to 1,097 pence, saying the stock may not reflect the current market perception of risk to its value.

Smiths Group gained 1.5 per cent to 1,399 pence. Morgan Stanley upgraded the shares to overweight from equal weight, saying the price does not reflect potential returns on a steady-rate basis or from mergers and acquisitions. Prudential added 1.7 per cent to 1,287 pence.

Grafton is to go into the FTSE250 index today, which should boost its share price.

European stocks fell, snapping two days of gains, before a Federal Reserve meeting next week. Gauges of auto and technology companies led the losses, each falling more than 1.1 per cent.

Vopak slipped 2.1 per cent to €41.74 after the world’s biggest chemical and oil-storage company forecasts 2013 EBITDA excluding one-time items of about €750 million.

Peugeot Citroen lost 5.1 per cent to €11.61, and Nokia dropped 2.4 per cent to €5.7.

BMW fell 1.3 per cent to €81.05. Preferred shares of Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest auto-maker, declined 1.6 per cent to €190.60.

US stocks fell in early tradingas concern US lawmakers will fail to reach a budget deal overshadowed better-than-forecast economic data. Oil, gold and coffee led commodities higher.

Coca-Cola, Pfizer and Procter and Gamble lost at least 1 per cent to lead declines in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Consumer staples, utility and telephone shares had the biggest declines among the 10 main industries in the S&P 500.

General Motors was little changed after naming Mary Barra to succeed Dan Akerson as chief executive officer.

Twitter shares hit an all-time high of $52.58, extending Monday’s gains after a spate of product announcements that could boost its revenue prospects. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters)