Markets drift amid continued Syria concerns

Iseq ends the day 0.4% weaker

Dublin heavyweight CRH moved lower on news of anaemic Polish cement sales, finishing 19 cent weaker at €17.48

Dublin heavyweight CRH moved lower on news of anaemic Polish cement sales, finishing 19 cent weaker at €17.48


Markets moved up, moved down and eventually finished fairly flat yesterday as worries over Syria remained high in investors’ minds and poor news on euro zone industrial production dampened performance.

Eurostat said factory production in the euro area was down 1.5 per cent on June, a poor result compared to expectations of a 0.3 per cent contraction.

The Iseq finished the day 0.4 per cent weaker after failing to make up its mind on direction for much of the session. Newsflow was limited, with investors generally left to look abroad for trends.

Positive numbers from Homebase in England provided some encouragement for Grafton, which has a strong English presence. Shares in the merchanting and DIY business rose 13.1 cent to €6.63.

Market heavyweight CRH, meanwhile, moved lower on news of anaemic Polish cement sales, finishing 19 cent weaker at €17.48.

Bank of Ireland enjoyed little benefit on news that it would be added to the FTSEurofirst 300 index in London, closing flat at 22.3 cent.

Smurfit Kappa stood out by generating a little bit of momentum of its own after Wednesday’s investors date in London. Davy’s verdict was that “both the industry and SKG are in great shape”, helping to lift shares by 35 cent, or 2.1 per cent, to €17.00.

Green REIT notched up a strong move on relatively low volume, climbing by 5 cent or 4.17 per cent, to €1.25.

On the losing side at the end of the session was C&C, which fell by 4.8 cent to €4.232.

UK stocks were little changed at their highest level in almost a month as news came of the bigger-than-expected drop in industrial output in the euro area, the UK’s biggest export market.

The FTSE 100 advanced 0.55 points, or less than 0.1 per cent, to 6,588.98 at the close in London. The equity benchmark has still declined 3.7 per cent from a 13-year high on May 22nd amid concern the Federal Reserve will start to reduce its monthly bond purchases this year.

Randgold Resources and Fresnillo each lost at least 2 per cent as gold dropped.

Trinity Mirror slid 2.3 per cent after the police started an investigation into possible phone hacking by former employees of its Sunday Mirror newspaper.

Glimmers of good news on the Irish front came from Bank of Ireland and Greencore, both of which will benefit from FTSE sub-index reweightings from the end of next week.

European stocks slipped from the highest level in more than five years on news of shrinking industrial output.

Sanofi fell 2.6 per cent after withdrawing a US application for a diabetes drug.

Cie Financiere Richemont dropped 2.3 per cent as revenue missed analysts’ estimates.

Vivendi advanced 2.7 per cent after saying it will begin a formal study to separate its French phone unit from its media businesses.

Home Retail Group surged 5.4 per cent to a two-year high as sales exceeded projections.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index slipped less than 0.1 per cent to 310.74 at the close of trading as four stocks declined for every three that gained. National benchmark indexes declined in 11 of the 18 western European markets .

US stocks fell in early trade, halting a seven- day win streak for the Standard and Poor’s 500 index, as materials producers plunged. investors weighed the prospects for Federal Reserve stimulus cuts and watched events on Syria.

Barrick Gold dropped 4.5 per cent as the precious metal slumped the most in nine weeks. Newmont Mining, the largest US gold producer, lost 3.4 per cent. Lululemon Athletica tumbled 5.3 per cent after cutting its earnings forecast. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg)