Markets hold their ground as investors’ keep one eye on Ukraine

Economic data yesterday showed Europe’s services output expanded faster than estimated

 Exxon Mobil’s biggest international exploration opportunity may be imperilled by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian foray, as US-based companies could face restrictions on doing business in Russia. Photograph: Reuters/Alexei Druzhinin

Exxon Mobil’s biggest international exploration opportunity may be imperilled by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian foray, as US-based companies could face restrictions on doing business in Russia. Photograph: Reuters/Alexei Druzhinin

 


Economic data yesterday showed Europe’s services output expanded faster than estimated. Meanwhile, US stocks fluctuated as investors assessed the Ukraine crisis and weaker- than-estimated data on US payrolls and services.

The Iseq rose by just under 0.3 per cent on good trading volumes. Benchmark indexes fell in seven of the 18 markets in western Europe. The FTSE 100 slid 0.7 per cent, Germany’s DAX dropped 0.5 per cent and France’s CAC 40 lost 0.1 per cent.

DUBLIN
Kerry Group eased ahead yesterday by almost 3.7 per cent on brisk trading volumes, particularly in the late afternoon. The stock is on a good run, and is up well over 4 per cent over the last two days. Kerry has shrugged off a slump in its profitability reported last month and investors’ attention has been snagged by its focus on expansion in the Far East.

Bank of Ireland climbed 1.24 per cent to 32.8 cents, trading in very heavy volumes. The rise came as investors began to digest the bank’s solid financial results, reported earlier this week. It has begun to recover some of the ground it lost because of the general jitters over Ukraine.

LONDON
Standard Chartered fell 2.1 per cent to 1,248 pence. The UK bank that gets three-quarters of its earnings from Asia said statutory pre-tax profit declined to $6.06 billion for 2013, from $6.85 billion a year earlier, amid writedowns and lower revenue in South Korea.

Admiral Group rose 7.5 per cent to 1,526 pence, the highest price since August 2011, after the UK motor insurer posted 2013 pre-tax profit of £370.2 million pounds, exceeding the £363.7 million estimate of analysts.

Lonmin slid 2.4 per cent to 293.9 pence. The world’s third-largest platinum producer said it won’t meet its full-year sales target of at least 750,000 ounces because of a strike. More than 70,000 miners have been on strike since January 23rd in South Africa, which has 70 per cent of world platinum reserves.

EUROPE
Adidas slid 3 per cent to €80.92, its lowest price since October. The world’s second-biggest sporting-goods maker forecast profit of €830 million to €930 million in 2014, trailing the average estimate of analysts. The company said its TaylorMade golf clubs business will fall in the first quarter.

Carrefour advanced 4.4 per cent to €27.83 after France’s largest retailer posted recurring operating income of €2.24 billion for 2013, exceeding the €2.20 billion analysts had projected. The company may sell shares in its Brazilian unit to local investors, it said.

Subsea 7 declined 7.8 per cent to 108 kroner. The offshore oil-services provider said fourth-quarter net income totalled $72 million, trailing the $105 million analysts had predicted.

NEW YORK
Exxon Mobil lost 2.7 per cent to $93.94 for the Dow’s steepest drop of the day. The company’s biggest international exploration opportunity may be imperilled by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian foray, as US-based companies could face restrictions on doing business in Russia. Exxon, under the terms of a 2011 contract with state-controlled Rosneft, owns drilling rights across 11.4 million acres of Russian land.

Smith and Wesson added 18 per cent to $13.95 for its biggest advance since June 2012. The maker of handguns forecast annual earnings of between $1.39 a share and $1.42, up from a previous projection of as much as $1.35.

Honeywell International rose 0.6 per cent to $95.21. The company, whose product lines span aviation controls to solvents, said it will spend the money as it seeks to add up to $8 billion in sales for revenue of more than $50 billion. – ( Additional reporting:Bloomberg/Reuters )

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