Markets in reverse as US consumer stocks lead the fall

Irish heavyweights CRH, Smurfit Kappa and Glanbia help to drag down Iseq

Dublin heavyweight CRH fell almost 0.9 per cent

Dublin heavyweight CRH fell almost 0.9 per cent

 

UK and European stocks fell, bringing a halt to their longest advance in almost seven weeks. Poor performances by banks damaged markets across Europe.

The Iseq in Dublin slipped 0.3 per cent while elsewhere, Germany’s Dax was 0.7 per cent down, while the Cac 40 in France fell 0.5 per cent.

US stocks were lower in early afternoon trading following a drop in consumer stocks. DUBLIN Aryzta, the Swiss-Irish bakery company, fell more than 6.5 per cent after a trading update pointed to further difficulties for its operations in the US. Although its main listing is in Switzerland, almost €15 million of its stock changed hands in Dublin as investors took fright.

Irish Continental Group, the owner of Irish Ferries, rose steadily throughout the day’s trading, after announcing it is investing €144 million in building a new car ferry.

Among the Iseq’s heavyweights, Paddy Power Betfair rose more than 3 per cent while Ryanair was up almost 0.6 per cent. However, several other heavy hitters were down, dragging the index into negative territory overall. CRH fell almost 0.9 per cent, Smurfit Kappa was down 1.9 per cent while Glanbia fell 0.7 per cent. LONDON Banking and mining stocks performed poorly, with Glencore and Standard Chartered down more than 2 per cent.

Royal Dutch Shell and BP fell more than 1 per cent, despite a rally from the oil price, which last week rose above $50 a barrel for the first time in nearly seven months.

Alliance Trust lifted 12.5p to 521p in the FTSE 250 Index after RIT Capital Partners confirmed talks for a potential takeover of the Scottish investment firm. RIT – chaired by financier Jacob Rothschild – said discussions over a £5 billion merger were at a “preliminary stage”.

Sainsbury’s was 0.8p lower at 268.5p after the competition regulator launched an inquiry into its planned £1.4 billion takeover of Argos.

Second-tier stock IG Group saw shares lift 2p to 799.5p after the spreadbetting firm reported solid trading in the fourth quarter and said earnings for the year are set to be slightly ahead of expectations. EUROPE Scandal-hit Volkswagen shares were 2 per cent lower in German after posting a 19.3 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to €3.2 billion for the first three months of 2016.

VW also weighed on rivals such as Renault and Daimler, although the carmaker posted a surprise increase in first-quarter operating profit and is pushing ahead with steps to overcome a scandal over rigging diesel emissions tests.

In a note on, JP Morgan reiterated that banks could unwind some prior losses, but it added that stronger economic growth was needed for the sector to perform sustainably.

Traders said Italian banks were further hit by uncertainty over the listing of Veneto Banca and concerns that the country’s bank rescue fund might have to step in. NEW YORK Apple’s 0.6 per cent fall to $99.76 was the biggest drag on the S&P and the Nasdaq, while Boeing’s fall of 1.9 per cent pulled down the Dow.

Coca-Cola’s 0.8 per cent drop was the biggest drag on the consumer staples index. Consumer heavyweights Home Depot and McDonald’s were off almost 1 per cent.

Disney, another Dow component, was down 1.3 per cent. The studio’s latest release, Alice Through the Looking Glass, received poor reviews.

Celator Pharma surged 71 per cent after agreeing to be bought by Jazz Pharma for about $1.5 billion. Jazz Pharma was down 0.3 per cent.

Energy shares were little changed, after erasing a 0.9 per cent increase, even as crude climbed to trade near $50 a barrel amid output disruptions and ahead of Opec meetings.

Southwestern Energy, Williams Cos. and Diamond Offshore Drilling gained more than 3.6 per cent. (Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters/PA)