Global stocks fall with FTSE having worst day in three years
Markets close: Iseq slides 1.9% but Paddy Power bucks trend on Stars Group merger
Ryanair declined 3.75% to €10.40, eradicating the previous session’s gain.
The FTSE 100 had its worst day in three years as stocks sold off on Wednesday amid fears that the fallout from the US-China trade war is spreading to the US economy, with the capacity to knock global growth.
Data released on Tuesday showed that a measure of US manufacturing activity fell to its lowest in more than 10 years. Investors’ reaction to the surprisingly weak figures combined with Brexit-related economic fears across Europe to take its toll on equities.
The Iseq index fell almost 1.9 per cent as most stocks ended in the red.
The standout performer, however, was Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment, which soared 7.2 per cent to €91.80, having earlier touched €103.80, after it said it planned a mega-merger with Canada’s the Stars Group, the owner of digital brands Poker Stars, Full Tilt and Sky Bet.
Investors loved the announcement of the proposed $6 billion all-share deal, which will give Flutter shareholders almost 55 per cent of the combined business.
Elsewhere, it was a bad day. Ryanair declined 3.75 per cent to €10.40, eradicating the previous session’s gain. Building materials group CRH, which has significant exposure to the US economy, was down by a similar percentage to €29.84, as global markets took fright.
The banks also went into reverse, with Bank of Ireland down 2.4 per cent to €3.60 and AIB losing 2.2 per cent to €2.66. Food stocks also joined in the decline, with Kerry slipping 1.8 per cent to €104.20, and Glanbia ending 1.25 per cent lower at €11.19.
Swiss-Irish bakery group Aryzta was down 8.5 per cent to 63 cent on low volume, while paper and packaging company Smurfit Kappa dropped 2.55 per cent to €26.70.
The FTSE 100 index endured its worst day since January 2016 as an overhang from weak US manufacturing data rekindled global growth worries and cast a shadow over markets, while investors scrambled for more clarity as Brexit looms.
The FTSE 100 plunged 3.2 per cent to its lowest level in more than a month and the domestically-focused FTSE 250 dropped just shy of 2 per cent, close to a one-month low.
Shares of Paddy Power’s mid-cap rival William Hill added 3.6 per cent on the news that Paddy Power’s owner Flutter entertainment planned a merger with the Stars Group.
Tesco ended marginally higher after rising as much as 2.3 per cent on better-than-expected earnings. Shares had opened lower after the surprise resignation of its chief executive Dave Lewis, who will be replaced by Irish man Ken Murphy.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index sank 2.6 per cent, its worst slide in 10 months, as stocks sold off across the board after the WTO approved US moves to slap import tariffs on $7.5 billion worth of European goods.
In Germany, the Dax fell 2.8 per cent, while the Cac 40 in France slid 3.1 per cent. Spanish and Italian stocks also lost ground.
French aircraft manufacturer Airbus dropped 2 per cent, while French waste and water group Suez which dropped 7 per cent after its new chief executive unveiled a four-year plan to boost earnings but failed to provide clarity on dividends and planned asset sales.
Among sectors, oil stocks were the biggest drag on the pan-regional index as prices of Brent crude sank 2.5 per cent.
Wall Street tumbled after another disappointing report sparked fears that the US economy is slowing.
The S&P 500 fell more than 2 per cent, heading for the biggest two-day slump in two months, as private payrolls fell short of estimates a day after a manufacturing gauge slumped to the lowest in a decade.
Carmakers sank after quarterly sales reports from Ford and General Motors added to concern over thinning profit margins in the industry. – Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg