Market slides but financials do well


The Dublin market was unable to hold its earlier gains yesterday and in line with most European markets fell back in the afternoon. The early rally throughout European markets was caused by technical factors, dealers said, and worries continued about Asia and Russia.

However, expectations of rate cuts in the Republic and Britain may spark the market into life today. The Bank of England monetary policy meeting ends today and a rate cut may be announced.

Meanwhile, the market will be closely examining inflation figures from the Central Bank, which may provide the final piece of the interest rate cut jigsaw here.

Despite the overall market fall, financial stocks made gains, among them First Active which touched a new high of 300p, before settling back unchanged at 290p. Dealers said trading volumes were significantly reduced compared to Tuesday.

"We would expect some smaller private client shareholders to sell their shares in the short term, but at the moment the stock seems to be settling down within its range," said a dealer.

AIB was up 9p at 901p, on the back of relatively modest trading, while Bank of Ireland, which stormed ahead earlier in the morning, eventually closed up 19p at 1036p.

Smurfit took a hammering early in the morning, but a recovery later in the day meant 4p rise on the day, closing at 88p.

The main upward movers were Independent Newspapers, up 15p to 250p, the Kerry Group, up 20p at 760p and Fyffes, up 7p to 114p.

The main downward movers were Ryanair, down 15p to 370p, the Hampden Group, down from 50p to 35p, Bula, down from 1.125p to 1p and Irish Continental, from 790p to 775p.

It was a good day for CRH which saw a price rise of 12p to 814p.