Investors dump tech stocks after profit-taking
Political uncertainty in the aftermath of the UK election contributed to poor volume in Dublin
Traders work in front of the German share price index, Dax board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt on Monday. Photograph: Reuters
Monday was a slow day on Ireland’s benchmark index which ultimately closed down by 0.62 per cent. Volumes were light on the day as political uncertainty strengthened in the aftermath of the recent UK election.
A sell-off in technology stocks across Europe drove both the FTSE and the pan-European Stoxx 600 index down on Monday. Wall Street opened lower for the same reason as Apple shares had their worst day for a year on Friday. In the UK, political tensions are still worrying investors with business groups warning of risks to investment as business confidence plummets.
The upcoming AIB initial public offering was enough to push Bank of Ireland higher on the day. Despite seeing a high volume of trades on Monday, the stock closed up by 0.26 per cent at €0.23.
Building materials company CRH closed down 1.86 per cent, despite data showing domestic construction activity at a 15-month high. Analysts suggested that President Trump’s infrastructure plan, or lack thereof, is affecting the stock.
DIY retailer Grafton Group, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange with Ireland making up over a fifth of sales, dropped by 0.85 per cent. Again, the drop comes despite strong construction figures.
The uncertainty surrounding sterling has pushed two of Ireland’s reits higher on the day. Hibernia Reit closed up 1.78 per cent while Green Reit closed up by 0.70 per cent at €1.44.
Britain’s FTSE 100 closed down 0.2 per cent, with investors dumping tech and other cyclical stocks.
Software company Micro Focus and accounting platform provider Sage Group were among the biggest blue-chip fallers, taken down by a pan-European tech sector which marked its worst day since the post-Brexit sell-off a year ago.
Anti-virus provider Sophos, which had been a top gainer after a ransomware virus spread across the world, fell 5.8 per cent on the mid-cap index. Polar Capital Technology Trust fell 4 per cent on the mid-caps, while Allianz’s technology investment trust was down 2.3 per cent among small caps.
A rare bright spot was the energy sector, with oil firms Royal Dutch Shell and BP up as oil prices rose, with traders betting the crude market has bottomed.
Shares in chipmakers STMicro, Dialog and AMS all fell between 6.7 per cent to 9.2 per cent following heavy losses in US and Asian peers.
The Stoxx 600 closed 1 per cent lower, having hit its lowest level in seven weeks earlier in the session. The index was mildly supported by gains in oil prices which lifted energy stocks and by parliamentary election results in France that looked set to give President Emmanuel Macron a huge majority to push through his pro-business reforms.
An upbeat note from Citi supported shares in French carmaker Renault, which helped lift Europe’s car index by 0.4 per cent, the only sector to trade in positive territory along with a flat energy index.
The Nasdaq Composite index took a beating for the second trading day as a bout of profit-taking took a toll on the richly-valued technology stocks.
The S&P 500 technology index has risen 18.5 per cent this year and is on track to register its best yearly performance since 2014.
Shares of General Electric rose after the company said Jeff Immelt would retire as chief executive and would be replaced by John Flannery, the head of GE healthcare, ending a years-long succession plan.
Coherus BioSciences tumbled after the FDA denied the approval of its biosimilar for Amgen’s Neulasta. Amgen was up.
(Additional reporting: Reuters)