Shares pushed down by weak commodity prices

FBD loses 2.6% after shareholders back €70m loan plan to meet solvency standards

Global stocks extended their worst annual fall in four years as oil resumed a slide amid renewed concerns that inventories have swelled. Treasuries slipped, sending the yield to a nine-year high versus sovereign peers, while the dollar gained. US stocks fell from a three-week high, while European equities extended their worst December drop since 2002 amid light end-of-year trading.


As with many other European bourses, there was little in the way of activity in Dublin, with the Iseq ending the day pretty much as it started, up just 15.37 points, to 6,856.68.

FBD was one of the main movers of the day after shareholders voted overwhelmingly at an egm in favour of a €70 million loan that will help the troubled insurer meet tough new solvency standards which come into force tomorrow. It closed down 2.6 per cent at €6.61.

Fruit group Fyffes gained 1 per cent to end the day at €15.06, while IFG was up 2 per cent to €2.31.


Other movers included property group Hibernia Reit, up 1 per cent to €14.19 and recruiter CPL, which rose 4 per cent to €6.29.


The London market drifted downwards, after warnings from the head of the

International Monetary Fund


Christine Lagarde

that global growth next year would be “disappointing and uneven”. The FTSE 100 Index fell 32.3 points to 6281.2, amid thin trading and little corporate or economic news following the Christmas break.

BP was 4.8p lower to 356.2p, while Royal Dutch Shell was down 4.5p to 1574.5p. Petroceltic, which last week announced it was putting itself up for sale, was down 1 per cent to 21.50p after it was revealed the explorer had transferred its rights in a Greek licence to its consortium partners.

Asia-focused banks Standard Chartered and HSBC were down 9.4p to 571.2p and 7.5p to 537.1p respectively, after China suspended three unnamed foreign banks from conducting some foreign exchange business until the end of March, according to Reuters.


European markets fell as weak commodity prices hit the shares of mining and energy companies. Online supermarket group


also underperformed, with its shares sliding on con cerns over growing competition from a rival service at



The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index and the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro Stoxx 50 index both declined by 0.4 per cent, surrendering ground after rising in the previous session. The number of shares changing hands was about half the 30-day average.

Energy companies posted the worst performance among Stoxx 600 groups, with Seadrill and Tullow Oil losing at least 1.9 per cent.

Markets will be shut tomorrow for New Year’s Day. Some, including Germany, Switzerland and Italy, will also be closed today for New Year’s Eve, while others will have shorter trading hours.

Declines for European equities left them 5 per cent lower for the month. While stocks recouped some losses in the final weeks of the year, that has not been enough to reverse a slide earlier this month stoked partly by disappointing European Central Bank stimulus measures.


US stocks fell in early trading, with the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index struggling to hold its gain for the year in 2015’s penultimate session, as energy shares followed oil lower and a slide in


weighed on technology shares.

Chevron and Anadarko Petroleum lost at least 1.2 per cent, amid reports showing that crude stockpiles had increased. Apple lost 1 per cent after a report that it paid €318 million to settle an Italian tax claim that involved an Irish subsidiary.

Pep Boys fell 3 per cent after Bridgestone declined to match Carl Icahn's takeover offer of more than $1 billion for car-parts retail chain. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist