Sentiment dips over Ukraine crisis

Iseq slides with Bank of Ireland falling 3.5% in line with financials to just over 27 cent

 Barclays slipped back over 5% after pretax profits fail to match analyst expectations. Photograph: PA

Barclays slipped back over 5% after pretax profits fail to match analyst expectations. Photograph: PA


The Iseq fell by 0.47 per cent as stock markets around the world slipped due to pressure caused by the ongoing geopolitical uncertainty over Ukraine. Many investors chose to profit-take now, with major indexes near record levels.

European stocks slumped for the third day running, their longest losing streak since March, while US stocks fell for the third time in four days. UK stocks also fell, paring back some of the gains from their recent five-day rally.

Exploration minnow Fastnet Oil & Gas fell spectacularly yesterday, halving to eight cents per share after its partner Kosmos Energy announced disappointing results from its drilling activities in Morocco. The Eagle-1 well, in which Fastnet holds a nine per cent stake, has been plugged and abandoned. Its share of the €100 million drilling costs is covered, but the now defunct oil well was one of its most promising plays.

Ryanair slipped back by 2.24 per cent to close at €6.76, after a late flurry of trades. The fall came despite an announcement that its passenger numbers were up 5 per cent in April, although most of the uplift was due to the timing this year of the Easter holidays.

Bank of Ireland slipped by 3.5 per cent to 27.4 cent, as financial stocks generally suffered due to the economic uncertainty over Ukraine and disappointing results from industry leader Barclays. B of I was easily the most heavily traded stock on the exchange, according to traders, with more than 77 million shares changing hands.

Barclays lost 5.2 per cent to 245 pence. Britain’s second- biggest bank said quarterly pretax profit, excluding swings in the valuation of the lender’s debt, dropped to £1.69 billion from £1.79 billion in the year- earlier period. That missed the £1.82 billion estimate of analysts provided by the bank.

Balfour Beatty slumped 20 per cent to 228.6 pence. Andrew McNaughton stepped down as chief executive after 13 months. The British construction company forecast 2014 pretax profit will be between £145 million and £160 million, compared with £187 million last year.

Just Eat, the online delivery service, jumped 4.6 per cent to 230 pence. The company said orders rose 51 per cent during the first three months of 2014 from a year earlier, in part because of the unusually wet weather in the UK and northern Europe.

Lufthansa advanced 3 per cent to €18.15. Europe’s second-largest carrier said its first-quarter operating loss fell to €245 million from €359 million a year earlier. Analysts had on average predicted €283.4 million.

Alstom slipped 2.2 per cent to €28.72. French president François Hollande said General Electric’s $17 billion bid for the company’s energy business isn’t sufficient. He said offers, including a counterproposal from Germany’s Siemens, must provide further job guarantees.

PostNL rallied 10 per cent to €3.39. The Dutch mail service with operations in the UK and Germany reported first- quarter net income of €54 million, compared with a restated loss of €410 million a year earlier.

AIG tumbled 4.1 per cent to $50.54. First-quarter net income dropped to $1.61 billion, or $1.09 a share, from $2.21 billion, or $1.49, a year earlier, the insurer said. AIG paid out $1.01 in claims and expenses for every dollar of premiums it took in during the quarter. The business had costs of 97.3 cents per dollar a year earlier.

Twitter plunged to a record low after lifting restrictions on share sales by insiders and early investors. The stock slumped 18 per cent to $31.85 at the close in New York as about 480 million shares from insiders became eligible for sale.

Discovery fell 3.9 per cent to $74.76. The owner of educational television channels reported first-quarter revenue of $1.41 billion, missing average analyst estimate of $1.43 billion in a survey. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters)

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