Stocks little changed on US uncertainty

Tue, Dec 18, 2012, 00:00

European stocks were little changed yesterday as concern that US lawmakers won’t agree on a budget before the holiday offset the election in Japan of a party that backs more economic stimulus.

The Iseq closed down 0.5 per cent with most stocks in the red on the day, albeit many off low volumes in trading.


Food group Fyffes, which is listed on the junior market in Dublin, was the big gainer in yesterday’s trading.

The fruit importer closed up 6.4 per cent at 58c, albeit off modest volumes.

Aer Lingus was down 1.8 per cent while Ryanair closed 1.1 per cent lower. This followed reports that Ryanair might offload Aer Lingus’s Heathrow slots to British Airways as part of a remedies package to gain European Commission approval for its offer.

About 3 per cent of Glanbia’s stock was being placed in the market last night as part of an agreed restructuring with its co-op, which involves farmers offloading more than eight million shares in the food group.

Glanbia closed yesterday in Dublin up 0.85 per cent at €7.68.


UK stocks retreated for a third day, their longest losing streak in a month, as Vodafone Group declined and concern mounted that US lawmakers will fail to agree on a budget before the holiday.

Vodafone dropped 1.7 per cent after paying €1.4 billion for frequency at a Dutch spectrum auction.

Aggreko plunged 22 per cent, its biggest slide in more than a decade, after the company said profit will probably fall in 2013.

Centamin surged 22 per cent after saying it has resumed exports of gold from Egypt.

The FTSE 100 retreated 9.61 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5,912.15 at the close in London. The equity benchmark has still rallied 6.1 per cent this year as the European Central Bank announced an unlimited bond-buying plan and the Federal Reserve began a third round of asset purchases.

The broader FTSE All- Share Index also fell 0.2 per cent.


Royal KPN slumped 15 per cent as the Dutch phone company partly owned by Carlos Slim’s America Movil scrapped its dividend.

Aggreko, the world’s largest provider of mobile power supplies, slumped the most in more than 10 years after saying earnings will be “slightly lower” next year.

PSA Peugeot Citroen gained 6.4 per cent as Europe’s second-biggest carmaker said it is close to finalising a deal with lenders to refinance debt at its banking unit.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index retreated 0.1 per cent to 279.18 at the close of trading, after earlier falling as much as 0.5 per cent.

The measure has still rallied 14 per cent this year as the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve expanded asset purchases.

France’s CAC slipped 0.1 per cent, the UK’s FTSE 100 lost 0.2 per cent, while Germany’s DAX advanced 0.1 per cent.


US stocks advanced in early trading, snapping a two-day decline in the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index, as investors weighed prospects for a budget deal in Washington.

All 10 groups in the S&P 500 advanced as financial companies gained the most, rising 1.8 per cent.

American International Group climbed 2.5 per cent on plans to sell as much as $6.5 billion of AIA Group Ltd shares.

Hartford Financial Services Group advanced 3.5 per cent after Sun Life Financial’s agreement to sell a US annuity unit raised the prospect for the insurer seeking to sell a similar business.

Tenet Healthcare rose 2.8 per cent as Deutsche Bank upgraded the hospital chain.

The S&P 500 gained 1 per cent to 1,428.06 at 12.32pm in New York.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 91.21 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 13,226.22. – (Additional reporting by Bloomberg)