Sea of red on stock markets as Iseq closes 9.9% lower

Coronavirus: Bank of Ireland drops 15% with US-exposed companies taking heaviest hit

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

 

Irish stocks shed more than a 10th of their value at one point on Thursday on a day that saw UK and US indices falling the most since the 1987 stock market crash dubbed “Black Monday”.

Dublin

A massive sell off took place on the Iseq on Thursday with the all-share index nose-diving as much as 10.7 per cent, before closing down 9.9 per cent.

There were no gainers on the smaller index with losers spread across every sector, although stocks in the travel and leisure sector as well as companies with US exposure fell sharply.

In the sea of red, the biggest losers were banks after the ECB delivered what some analysts viewed as an underwhelming policy response to the crisis. Bank of Ireland plummeted 15.49 per cent to €2.31 while fellow bank AIB declined 8.77 per cent to €1.45.

In the travel and leisure sector Ryanair endured another day of losses, closing 7.26 per cent lower at €10.34. Its peer, Norwegian, said it would shed half of its employees and cancel 40 per cent of its flight schedule.

Dalata, the State’s largest hotel group with about one-quarter of hotels in Dublin alone, fell 14.89 per cent to €2.31, meanwhile.

US-exposed stocks were also among the big losers. Stock market heavyweight CRH slipped 10.6 per cent €23.11.

Flutter Entertainment was also a big loser but it was also in the unfortunate position of being exposed to the sport industry. In the US, the NBA suspended the rest of the season’s games while domestically, the GAA said the same. The Euro 2020 competition is now also under review. These factors pushed Paddy Power-owner Flutter 15 per cent lower to €76.80.

London

The FTSE 100 closed the day down by more than a 10th as fears over coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, sparked the index’s worst bloodbath in more than 30 years.

Investors ran scared from London’s shares taking more than £160 billion (€180m) off the value of the index’s 100 companies. It throws the index down to its lowest closing point since 2011.

In results driven news, shares in Tullow Oil fell 31 per cent to 12p on its London listing as the company, which was founded in Ireland, reported a $1.7 million (€1.5m) loss as exploration write-offs and impairments hit.

Revenue for the year was $1.68 billion, down from more than $1.8 billion a year earlier while Tullow’s gross profit was $759 million.

Europe

European shares plunged 11.5 per cent on Thursday, their worst daily loss on record.

Airline stocks in particular took a major beating all day, while bank stocks were hard hit amid growing signs of corporate distress.

Stocks in Italy, the European country most affected by the virus, ended nearly 17 per cent lower, their worst session ever.

The bank-heavy Spanish index also shed 14 per cent. Automobile and insurance stocks were the worst performing regional subindexes for the day, shedding more than 15 per cent each.

Travel and leisure stocks ended down 13.2 per cent as airlines Air France KLM, Lufthansa and Aer Lingus-owner IAG plummeted in the wake of the 30-day travel ban introduced by the US on foreign nationals coming from the Schengen Area. Lufthansa closed 14 per cent lower, ending at a near eight-year low.

New York

The Dow Jones Industrials index was on course for its worst day since 1987 while airline stocks tanked 14.4 per cent and cruise liners plummeted between 17per cent and 23 per cent.

Boeing fell another 13 per cent as JPMorgan abandoned its long-term buy recommendation on the plane manufacturer’s shares, a day after the company signalled major cutbacks and drew on a large chunk of additional reserve cash.

Trading on Wall Street was halted minutes after the opening bell with the S&P 500 sliding 7 per cent and triggering a 15-minute cutout.

Bank stocks dropped 10.5 per cent as US treasury yields tumbled on expectations of aggressive easing by the Federal Reserve. – Additional reporting: Reuters