European stocks complete worst December since 2002
Volumes thin on ground as investors and traders wind down on last day of trading
Ryanair fell 2 per cent but the stock has gained 53 per cent over the year. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
It was a quiet day on the Dublin market as investors and traders wound down for the year.
With many of Europe’s markets closed and the Iseq only open for a half-day of trading, brokers weren’t expecting too much activity. Volumes were thin on the ground, wrapping up a quiet week for the stock exchange.
The overall Iseq fell 64 points to close at 6,791.68, but the index is a fair distance from where it started the year, at almost 5,229. It was certainly a lot better than its European peers, with European stocks in general completing their worst December since 2002, trimming a fourth annual advance.
But traders noted there were low volumes in the Kingspan stock, and little hard data to spur Ryanair’s decline.
The airline has been one of the main performers on the Dublin market for the year, traders said. Ryanair closed in on its 100 million passenger milestone in November as it continued its customer charter programme aimed at making travelling with the airline more enjoyable for customers. The stock has gained 53 per cent over the year.
CRH has also gained throughout the year on the back of its €6.5 billion acquisition deal with cement companies Lafarge and Holcim. The company saw its shares fall marginally to €26.70 in Dublin, but overall the stock has gained from its price of €19.90 at the end of 2014, a rise of 34.2 per cent.
Declines in miners and oil stocks weighed on the FTSE 100 Index this year, dragging it 4.9 per cent lower. Anglo American and Glencore tumbled at least 70 per cent.
British homebuilders were among the best performers, benefiting from an improving UK economy. Berkeley and Taylor Wimpey climbed 47 per cent or more.
The FTSE 100 lost 0.5 per cent at the close in London today, with the volume of shares changing hands about half the 30-day average.
The volume of shares changing hands was more than two-thirds lower than the 30-day average yesterday, with markets including Germany, Switzerland and Italy closed, while the UK, France and the Netherlands shut early.
“It has not been a good end to 2015, with low liquidity making market weakness even more pronounced,” said Ramiro Loureiro, an analyst at Banco Comercial Portugues SA’s Millennium unit in Lisbon. “I do think 2016 will start better, especially now valuations are more attractive. The risk is that the global economy goes in the wrong direction.”
US stock indexes opened lower yesterday, with the S&P 500 slipping back into negative territory for the year, as crude logged in a second year of steep losses. Global stocks were heading towards a sluggish end to the year, with the fall in oil prices hurting currencies of commodity-rich countries. The dollar index rose marginally against a basket of currencies. – (Additional reporting: Reuters, Bloomberg)