Subdued day on all global markets
It was a subdued day in global markets yesterday as euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund made their third attempt in as many weeks to agree on releasing emergency aid for Greece, with policymakers saying a write-down of Greek debt was off the table for now.
The euro and global stocks slipped, albeit on light volumes for the most part, as investors bided their time, remaining cautious over the latest round of talks to keep Greece financially afloat.
The Dublin market was “fairly muted” according to one Dublin stockbroker, with the Iseq index of Irish shares shedding 0.4 per cent, to close at 3,250.
While agri-services group Origin Enterprises yesterday issued a trading update reporting a slower start to its 2013 financial year, the stock remained unchanged.
The company attributed “unseasonably bad weather” to the slow start to its trading year. However, its numbers are skewed toward the second half of the fiscal year according to a Dublin stockbroker.
Building materials giant CRH is still struggling below the €14 mark, closing down 1.57 per cent yesterday at €13.77, while food group Glanbia also declined, shedding 1.49 per cent to finish at €7.98.
It was a positive day for exploration group Kenmare Resources, which ended up 5.6 per cent, though on light volumes.
British blue-chip shares fell, with Barclays tumbling more than 5 per cent, as the market retreated after its best performance this year last week.
Barclays dropped 5.4 per cent after top shareholder Qatar Holdings cashed in its remaining warrants in the bank, a move which led to the sale of up to 303.3 million shares.
Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, the banks that arranged the transaction, said the Barclays shares were sold at 244 pence each, a 4 per cent discount to Friday’s closing price, but did not confirm whether all the stock had been sold.
Royal Bank of Scotland slipped 3 per cent to 285.1 pence, HSBC Holdings dropped 0.9 per cent to 620 pence and Lloyds Banking Group declined 2.8 per cent to 45.1 pence.
Overall, banking was the weakest blue-chip sector, knocking over 11 points off the FTSE 100 index.
European stocks declined, following the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s biggest weekly rally this year, as euro-area finance ministers met.
Straumann Holding rose 2.3 per cent after Government of Singapore Investment increased its stake in the maker of dental implants to 14 per cent. The Stoxx 600 lost 0.5 per cent to 272 at the close in London, falling for the first time in six days.
ThyssenKrupp, Germany’s largest steelmaker, dropped 5.1 per cent to €15.93, the biggest slump since March 6th.
Lafarge, the world’s biggest cement maker, lost 2.4 per cent to €43.61 amid political instability in Egypt. The company gets almost a quarter of its revenue from the Middle East and Africa. France’s Cac slid 0.8 per cent, while Germany’s Dax dropped 0.2 per cent.
US stocks eased yesterday as a mixed start to the holiday shopping season, caution over Greek aid talks and budget discussions in Washington gave investors reason to pause after Wall Street posted its best week in more than five months.
While holiday shopping appeared to be off to a good start, analysts cautioned against reading too much into one weekend’s numbers.
Shares in department store operator Macy’s, which offered consumers deep discounts on Black Friday, fell 3.6 per cent to $40.22. The SPDR S&P retail exchange-traded fund fell 1.3 per cent to $62.39. DreamWorks Animation lost 4.8 per cent as Rise of the Guardians opened in fourth place in cinemas over the Thanksgiving weekend. – (Additional reporting: Reuters, Bloomberg)