Markets wrap: London’s jitters amid inflation fears

Top flight index winning streak ends as the pound surges to a three-week high

Questions over US president Donald Trump’s ability to get legislators to support tax cuts weighed on markets on Tuesday.


Newspaper group Independent News and Media gained 9 per cent to close at 12 cent after it reported a near 12 per cent rise in profit to €41.8 million, driven mainly by cost cuts. Just over 1.5 million of its shares traded in Dublin. Dealers noted that the stock is illiquid.

Mining tool maker Mincon's shares fell 4.49 per cent to 85 cent after it reported that pre-tax profits rose to €11.3 million last year from €9.6 million in 2015. Volumes were small with just 87,000 of its shares changing hands.


Insulation panels manufacturer Kingspan dipped 0.9 per cent to €29.80. Its chairman, Eugene Murtagh senior, informed the market on Tuesday that he had sold one million shares at €30 each the previous day.

Airline Ryanair fell 1.04 per cent to €14.71 following trades totalling more than 1.1 million shares.

Ingredients and convenience foods group, Kerry, fell 1.79 per cent to €75.30. Dealers said that there was some profit taking as the stock has had good run recently.


London’s top flight index gave up its winning streak as the pound surged to a three-week high after inflation exceeded the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target.

BHP Billiton dropped 53 pence sterling to 1,283.5p, while Rio Tinto and Glencore fell by 143p to 3,327p and 14.6p to 330.1p respectively. The London market has risen for the past four sessions on the bounce, notching up three record closes along the way.

Barclays rose after higher inflation raised the prospect of an interest rate hike in the coming months. Shares in Barclays were up 1.7p to 230p.

Distribution and outsourcing firm Bunzl was among the biggest risers following a broker upgrade to overweight from equal weight. Shares rose more than 1 per cent or 30p to 2,365p, after Barclays said the company was well positioned to deliver organic and acquisition growth.

Bellway Housing lifted 9p to 2,837p after posting a healthy rise in half-year profits. The Newcastle-based group said pre-tax profits rose 9.3 per cent to £247.6 million in the six months ended January 31st, while revenue was up 5.9 per cent to £1.1 billion.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index included Fresnillo up 25p to 1,553p, National Grid up 9.9p to 1,000.5p, Admiral Group up 15p to 1,992p.


The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended down 0.5 per cent. The index had earlier gained as much as 0.4 per cent to hit a 15-month high.

The STOXX banking index came off highs but still managed to end in positive territory, up 0.1 per cent.

French banks, seen as a bellwether of the country's election developments, were among the biggest gainers in the sector, with BNP Paribas , Societe Generale and Credit Agricole up between 0.3 and 1.6 per cent.

German heavyweight bank Deutsche Bank was a top gainer, 4.3 per cent above its theoretical ex-rights price as the subscription period for its €8 billion capital hike began.

Shares in Fingerprint Cards plummeted 32 per cent, topping losers on the STOXX, after the Swedish biometric company scrapped plans to pay a dividend and said it could not forecast likely earnings for 2017.

Swiss asset manager Partners Group hit an all-time high after it posted a 41 per cent rise in profits for 2016 and hiked its dividend.

Dutch paints and coatings producer Akzo Nobel also hit a record high, ending up 2 per cent. The hike followed a report that PPG Industries was preparing a renewed takeover proposal after its initial offer was rejected.


Wall Street fell as investors questioned Mr Trump’s ability to deliver on promised tax cuts.

Bank of America slumped 5.48 percent, the biggest drag on the S&P 500, while a 2.98 percent drop in Goldman Sachs pulled the Dow lower.

With valuations stretched, investors see Mr Trump’s struggles to push through a healthcare overhaul as a sign he may also face setbacks delivering promised corporate tax cuts.

Additional reporting: Reuters

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

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