Unprofitable day for most exchanges
It was an unprofitable day for most of the globe’s exchanges with worries about the actions of the US Federal Reserve and European economic growth dampening enthusiasm among investors.
Traders noted there had been a good run over the past six to seven weeks and that it was not uncommon to see some profit-taking.
The exchange closed the day down 1.54 per cent, a respectable performance when compared with its European peers.
General worries about the US and European economies, coupled with the disappointing results released on Wednesday by French construction company Saint Cobain, contributed to the poor performance of building materials group CRH yesterday. It closed the day down 4.17 per cent, at €15.41. The company is to released its latest results on Tuesday.
Other shares linked to the construction sector were less affected. DIY and builders’ merchant Grafton closed the day down 1.45 per cent, at €4.75, while Kingspan saw its share price rise 0.47 per cent, to €8.83.
There was a generally positive note from the Japanese bank Nomura on Bank of Ireland, but the share still ended the day down 2.9 per cent, at €0.134 ahead of results on March 5th.
Smurfit closed at €11.44, a fall of 1.63 per cent, while Ryanair drooped by 1.63 per cent, to close at €5.67.
Traders said renewed international demand explained the 0.64 per cent rise in the price of Kerry, which closed at €40.99. Fellow food company Glanbia rose by 0.33 per cent, to close at €8.4.
Britain’s blue-chip shares posted their biggest one-day loss since July on concerns the Federal Reserve could end its stimulus programme sooner than expected, removing a driver of the recent equity rally.
The FTSE 100 closed down 103.83 points, or 1.6 per cent, at 6,291.54, dropping below the 6,300 level for the first time in 10 days. Stocks that benefit the most in rising markets, or “cyclicals”, fell furthest. Worse than expected euro zone purchasing managers’ data also weighed on sentiment.
BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, slipped 4 per cent to 2,097 pence and Rio Tinto, the second-largest, lost 3.5 per cent to 3,518.5p. Xstrata slid 3.2 per cent to 1,112p.
Among the financials, HSBC retreated 2.3 per cent to 716.4p. Barclays declined 4.2 per cent to 306.45p and Lloyds Banking Group slipped 3.1 per cent to 53.97p.
BAE rallied 4.1 per cent to 345.9p after saying it will buy back £1 billion of shares over the next three years. Europe’s largest arms maker reported 2012 profit that beat analyst estimates.
All 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index retreated with a gauge of carmakers dropping 2.5 per cent. National benchmark indexes fell in every western-European market except Iceland. France’s Cac 40 declined 2.3 per cent, while Germany’s Dax dropped 1.9 per cent.
PSA Peugeot Citroën slumped 4.2 per cent to €5.86 and Fiat lost 4.1 per cent to €4.12. A gauge of European carmakers posted the biggest decline in more than two weeks.
Axa Safran decreased 3.1 per cent to €34. Europe’s second-biggest maker of aircraft engines has begun exploratory discussions with Avio, chief executive Jean-Paul Herteman said.
Insurer Axa retreated 3.1 per cent to €13.27 as net income unexpectedly fell to €4.15 billion in 2012 from €4.19 billion in 2011.
US stocks fell after Federal Reserve minutes showed policymakers backed more flexibility in stimulus as investors weighed corporate earnings.
VeriFone Systems lost 40 per cent after the credit-card terminal maker forecast second-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates. – Additional reporting, Reuters, Bloomberg