Europe stocks slide on Greek stalemate
US stocks fall amid mixed data showing employment rising but productivity dipping
In London, Royal Mail fell 4.9 per cent after chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne said the state would sell its 30 per cent stake in the postal operator. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
European markets slid to their lowest level in a month after talks failed to resolve the Greed stalemate and a broad sell-off of ex-dividend stocks.
The Irish market performed in line with Europe on a day when there was no significant corporate news.
International building materials group, CRH, slid 1.78 per cent to €24.82. Just under 2.2 million of its shares changed hands in Dublin yesterday.
Ryanair, which earlier this week published strong traffic figures for last month, gained 1.03 per cent to close at €11.76 . Its main rival, Easyjet, produced solid passenger numbers.
International Packaging group, Smurfit Kappa, ended the day more or less flat at €26.61, but was down about 2 per cent earlier in the day.
Property investment trust, Green Reit, slid 2.73 per cent to €1.57. In the same sector, Hibernai Reit was off 1.54 per cent at €1.28.
Britain’s top share index fell. Johnson Matthey, the world’s largest maker of auto catalysts, shed 5.3 per cent, making it the top FTSE 100 faller.
The company posted a small rise in annual profit helped by higher sales of catalysts in Europe, but investors worried about an unexpectedly sharp increase in debt caused by a rise in working capital and weaker precious metals prices, which have hit its metals division in the last year.
Royal Mail fell 4.9 per cent after finance minister George Osborne said Britain will sell its 30 per cent stake in the postal operator.
The sell-off on the FTSE was broad-based, with all sectors in negative territory. Many of the top fallers traded without the attraction of their latest dividend payouts, with National Grid and WPP dropping 5.1 percent and 3.5 per cent respectively.
Commodity stocks were also weaker, with gold pinned near a three-year low and further downside to metal prices seen.
UBS trimmed its full year target for the FTSE 100 to 7,200 points from 7,300, citing weak commodity stocks, even as it raised its target price for the STOXX Europe 600.
Among the few gainers, budget airline Easyjet rose 0.6 per cent after reporting traffic figures traders said were solid. ABB jumped 3.6 per cent after saying Cevian Capital II GP held more than 3 per cent.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.8 per cent to 392.88 at 4:35 pm. It trimmed losses after the International Monetary Fund urged the Federal Reserve to postpone its rate increase expected this year until the first half of 2016.
Stocks tumbled as much as 1.9 per cent earlier as bonds slumped and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras rejected proposals by creditors to help unlock more aid. euro region bailout expires.
The ASE Index slid 1.3 per cent, the most among western-European peers. Commodity producers posted the worst performance among Stoxx 600 groups. Utilities also slid, with Électricité de France losing 2.8 per cent amid concern over the terms of a government-led plan for it to buy a majority stake in Areva’s atomic-reactor business.
Among other stocks active on corporate news, Saipem slid 14 per cent. Eni, its largest shareholder, may weigh a share sale to address the firm’s debt, Il Sole 24 Ore reported. Deutsche Telekom gained 1.4 per cent. T-Mobile US, owned by the German firm, is in talks to merge with Dish Network, the Wall Street Journal reported.
US stocks fell amid mixed data on the world’s biggest economy showing employment improving but productivity dipping. Investors were also weighing IMF calls on the Federal Reserve not to hike interest rates.
AerCap Holdings fell 3.1 per cent to $48.76 after insurer AIG hastened efforts to sell stake in the aircraft leasing firm. Five Below jumped 8 per cent to $37.94 after the teen merchandise retailer raised its full-year forecast.– (Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters)