Concerns over Greece weigh on bank stocks

A drop in banks led European stocks lower, with concern growing over Greece

Aer Lingus fell by as much as 10 per cent in Dublin in the afternoon, before coming back to close around 4.4 per cent down to €2.12 when the market closed

Aer Lingus fell by as much as 10 per cent in Dublin in the afternoon, before coming back to close around 4.4 per cent down to €2.12 when the market closed

 

A drop in banks led European stocks lower, with concern growing over the political situation in Greece. Greece’s ASE Index lost 4.8 per cent as National Bank of Greece and Piraeus Bank slid more than 9.8 per cent.

Spanish and Italian indices fell the most in the region after the Greek gauge. Spain’s IBEX 35 and Italy’s FTSE MIB retreated more than 1.9 per cent.

The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.2 per cent, hurt by a fall in HSBC after the bank admitted tax failings at its Swiss unit, and also by softer utility stocks. The Iseq in Dublin fell by 0.6 per cent on a relatively quiet day of trading.

US stocks fluctuated as gains in crude oil boosted energy shares, offsetting concerns over Greece. The yen and gold advanced amid demand for haven assets.

DUBLIN

Aer Lingus

CRH gained 1.6 per cent on Monday as investors continued to digest the building materials’ giant’s planned €6.5 billion purchase of assets from the Lafarge/Holcim global merger.

It also emerged that 12 US states are considering fuel tax rises to fund highway construction, providing a potential boost to CRH’s operations.

Providence Resources gained 1.3 per cent after it announced the acquisition of Chrysaor, which owns 26 per cent of the Spanish Point hydrocarbon field.

LONDON

The bank admitted failings by its Swiss subsidiary after reports in the Irish Times and elsewhere that it helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of euros of assets.

Among other banks, Barclays lost 0.7 per cent, Royal Bank of Scotland shed 0.8 per cent and Lloyds 1.2 per cent.

Bookmaker Ladbrokes and online grocer Ocado saw volatile swings and a surge in volume just before the closing auction. Traders said the moves may have been due to a possible trading error, although London Stock Exchange said it had received no requests to cancel trades.

EUROPE

Germany’s Dax lost 1.7 per cent after the nation sounded a cautious note over prospects for peace talks on Ukraine.

Automakers dropped 2.9 per cent as Renault, Peugeot, Volkswagen and BMW retreated more than 3 per cent.

BNP Paribas declined 3.1 per cent after JP Morgan downgraded the stock to a rating similar to sell, citing concerns that higher costs will hurt returns.

Spain’s Banco Santander and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria dropped more than 2 per cent, and Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo lost 3.3 per cent.

NEW YORK

Hasbro

McDonald’s Corp fell 1.1 per cent after posting a worse-than-projected decline in global sales for January, dragged down by a slump at its Asian restaurants.

Energy stocks in the S&P 500 added 0.6 per cent as Transocean and Noble gained more than 4.8 per cent.

Healthcare companies led decliners with a 0.5 per cent loss. McKesson and Edwards Lifesciences decreased more than 1.7 per cent. Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters