Poll showing shift towards Brexit unsettles markets

US manufacturers unexpectedly report slightly faster growth in May

Production at the Diavik diamond mine, owned by Rio Tinto, in the North Slave Region of Canada. In London, shares in Rio Tinto, Antofagasta and Anglo American fell between 1.3 and 3.8 per cent. Photograph: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg

Production at the Diavik diamond mine, owned by Rio Tinto, in the North Slave Region of Canada. In London, shares in Rio Tinto, Antofagasta and Anglo American fell between 1.3 and 3.8 per cent. Photograph: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg

 

Two polls showing a shift in public opinion towards the UK leaving the EU spooked the markets on Wednesday. The results of the polls, carried out by the Guardian and ICM, were published on Tuesday and said voters were split 52 per cent to 48 per cent in favour of a Brexit whether online or by phone.

DUBLIN

The Iseq in Dublin market was down about 1 per cent in line with most other markets, with one dealer pointing to the Brexit survey.

After a good run last week, Bank of Ireland lost some ground and was down 4.75 per cent at 26.1 cent. The volume was about average at 47 million shares.

CRH was down 1.65 per cent at €26.785 in line with the market. Aryzta clawed back some of its Tuesday weakness, finishing up 4.39 per cent at €36.85.

LONDON

Britain’s top share index retreated from a one-month high.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed 0.6 per cent lower at 6,191.93 points, a day after hitting its highest level since late April. The UK mining index fell 1.9 per cent as metals prices dropped following weak factory data from China and Europe.

Shares in mining companies Rio Tinto, Antofagasta and Anglo American fell between 1.3 and 3.8 per cent.

British heating and products supplier Wolseley dropped 5.5 per cent, the biggest one-day percentage drop since September last year, after the company reported a slowdown in revenue growth for the third quarter, reflecting subdued demand in some markets.

British housebuilders were also in negative territory, with analysts citing the Brexit poll.

Shares in Persimmon, Berkeley Group, Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey fell from 2.9 to 3.7 per cent.

EUROPE

Stocks in Europe declined for a second day as investor concerns about global growth prospects intensified amid mixed manufacturing reports before Thursday’s European Central Bank policy meeting.

Miners fell the most of the Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s 19 industry groups as Chinese manufacturing data failed to ease anxiety over the nation’s economic outlook.

Italian banks helped drag lenders lower after a report that they may be asked to inject additional funds into the country’s resolution fund.

The Stoxx 600 retreated 1 per cent at the close of trading, its biggest decline in almost two weeks.

As the ECB prepares to announce its rate decision, attention will also focus on ECB president Mario Draghi’s press briefing afterwards, as data showed euro-area manufacturing barely grew in May.

Elekta slid 4.2 per cent after the Swedish maker of medical devices posted disappointing fourth-quarter revenue and profit and forecast weak results for the first half of the year.

Royal Ahold rose 2.5 per cent after the Dutch grocery chain that is merging with Delhaize Group reported better- than-forecast first-quarter profit.

NEW YORK

The US dollar slipped on fresh doubts about a Fed interest rate rise this month. Oil prices tumbled on expectations that major oil producers would not reach a deal to freeze output at an Opec meeting on Thursday.

US treasury bond yields fell on renewed bids for safer assets after the drop in stock and commodity prices.

US manufacturers fared better than their overseas counterparts as they unexpectedly reported slightly faster growth in May, according to the Institute for Supply Management, but data from Markit showed US factory growth slipping to its lowest since 2009.

US stocks were little changed, while the dollar fell against a basket of currencies. Prices for longer-dated US government debt rose.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.29 per cent, to 17,735.81, the S&P 500 declined 0.18 per cent, to 2,093.22 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.06 per cent, to 4,945.09. – (Additional reporting: agencies)