Aer Lingus nosedives amid strike action

Iseq in negative territory but in line with global trend as MSCI issues reratings

Global equity markets edged slightly lower on Friday as fears that growth expectations are too high offset mostly solid economic data, while the dollar eased on the likelihood the European Central Bank will deliver monetary stimulus next week.

Wall Street fell and a measure of global equities slid after hitting its highest level in more than six years on Thursday, although that was still 2 per cent below its lifetime high.

DUBLIN The Iseq performed in line with the trend, edging 3 per cent lower throughout the day. Traders said some of the activity was connected to reratings by MSCI, the global markets index against which many indices, including the Iseq, are benchmarked.

Bank of Ireland was traded heavily throughout the day, with 120 million shares changing hands overall, although activity accelerated into the afternoon with 80 million shares in the final auction. The stock closed down 0.7 per cent at 28.2 cents.


The property fund Hibernia REIT closed the day up 1.9 per cent to €1.07, a day after announcing it was spending €20 million on the Hannover building in Dublin Docklands, bringing its total spend in Ireland to €253 million. The deal was well-received by investors, with brisk trading throughout the day.

Aer Lingus, which was hit by strike action yesterday, was punished by investors, closing down more than 5 per cent at €1.42. Other airlines also performed poorly, with traders suggesting Aer Lingus's strike woes may have been compounded by the sector's weakness.

LONDON UK stocks fell, paring a monthly gain for the benchmark FTSE 100 Index, with mining companies dropping the most.

BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Anglo American led a decline in European mining companies as they each dropped more than 3.5 per cent.

Fresnillo, a producer of gold and silver, lost 3.5 per cent to 806 pence.

Fenner slid the most since September 2009 after saying pretax profit may miss analysts’ estimates because of worsening trade conditions in US coal.

The FTSE 100 lost 26.78 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 6,844.51 at the close in London, paring its gain this month to 1 per cent.

EUROPE European stocks were little changed, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index advancing for a seventh week as a better-than-expected report on US business activity offset consumer-confidence data that missed forecasts.

Societe Generale slipped 2.1 per cent after Les Echos reported that the French bank's Russian unit posted a decline in first-quarter profit.

Germany’s DAX was flat at 9,938.90 points after rising to a record high of 9,957.87 points on Wednesday, while France’s CAC was flat at 4,530.51 points.

French shares underperformed following a report that said the US justice department was pushing BNP Paribas to pay more than $10 billion to resolve a criminal inquiry. The French bank’s shares were down 2.5 per cent after earlier falling around six per cent.

The Stoxx 600 fell 0.1 per cent to 344.24 at the close of trading.

NEW YORK US stocks fluctuated, after the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose to a record high in early trading yesterday, as reports showed consumer spending unexpectedly declined last month, while confidence slid more than estimated.

The dollar eased against other major currencies as traders tidied up books at month’s end and warily awaited potentially market-moving meetings by the ECB next week.

US Steel and Peabody Energy declined more than 3.5 per cent in early trading, leading commodity shares to the biggest losses among 10 S&P 500 industries.

Lions Gate Entertainment dropped 13 per cent after quarterly results missed estimates. Express fell 9.9 per cent as the retail chain cut its annual profit forecast. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters