European stocks slide over Greek debt

Two-hour blackout at data provider Bloomberg hit markets around the world

European stocks slid on Friday as concern over the impact of Greek debt was exacerbated by declines in the US and Asia.

A two-hour blackout at news and data provider Bloomberg hit markets around the world, aggravating a spike in volatility in European stocks.


The Irish market performed slightly better than its European peers.

Aer Lingus


shed some of the gains it made on Thursday on the back of reports that the Government was close to agreeing to sell the State’s stake to suitor

International Consolidated Airlines Group

(IAG). It subsequently emerged that negotiations have yet to bridge a gap between the parties.

The airline slid 1.01 per cent to €2.356. IAG said in January that it is prepared to offer €2.55 a-share for the Irish carrier, a proposal that the Aer Lingus board has backed.

Ryanair, which owns 29.8 per cent of Aer Lingus, was down 1.87 per cent at €11.01. Dealers suggested that there was an element of profit taking in the slide and pointed out that the sector was generally weaker across Europe on Friday.

International packaging group, Smurfit Kappa, climbed 2.15 per cent to €28.95. The company is the subject of persistent rumours that US giant International Paper is interested in buying it.

Building materials giant and index heavyweight CRH shed 1.99 per cent to €23.435, despite positive news on US highway construction, an industry to which the Irish group is a key supplier.


BP rose 5.9p to 479.35 pence in the wake of yesterday’s annual meeting, while

InterContinental Hotels

edged up 6p to 2,722p on renewed speculation it could be in the sights of a US rival.

Qinetiq climbed 7.4p to 202.5p after analysts at Barclays moved from equal weight to overweight, the equivalent of a buy, and raised their price target from 210p to 220p.

Irish-backed Gameaccount Network surged 41.25 per cent ahead to 56.5p following results this week. Dealers in Dublin said there was strong interest in the stock in both the Irish and English markets.


The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 1.8 per cent to 403.69 at the close of trading, completing the worst week of the year. The Greek ASE Index slid 3 per cent, with the

National Bank of Greece

and Alpha Bank tumbling more than 7 per cent, as the country struggles to win more aid to avoid a default. Germany’s DAX Index plunged 5.5 percent this week, the most since 2011.

European stocks fell for a second day after reaching a fresh peak Wednesday, taking weekly losses to 2.2 per cent.

The Stoxx 600 is still up 18 per cent this year amid European Central Bank stimulus, and trades near the highest level relative to projected profits of its members in at least a decade. "We've become a bit more cautious over the past few months because markets have been rallying pretty rapidly," said Dirk Thiels, head of investment management at KBC Asset Management in Brussels.

Greek stocks plunged 6 per cent this week for the worst performance among western-European markets. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned on Thursday that she wouldn't let the country miss a debt payment.

European and US stocks fell with China’s index futures after regulators in the world’s second-biggest economy clamped down on the use of shadow financing for equity purchases.


Concerns over


and Chinese regulatory changes weighed on Wall Street. Shares in Honeywell were down 1.6 per cent at $102.29, while GE shares were up 0.3 percent at $27.35.

Dow component American Express, the world's largest credit card issuer, was the biggest drag on the index.

It fell 4.3 per cent to $77.37 after revenue missed analysts’ estimates, partly due to the currency impact.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas