Shares tumble as sell-off sweeps global markets
Market report: Over €2bn wiped off Irish stocks as Iseq slumps 3%
A nervous mood reigned throughout the session
Shares tumbled as a sell-off swept global markets after the arrest of a top Huawei executive in Canada in relation to alleged violations of US sanctions. The move riled Beijing and renewed worries about US-China trade tensions. European stocks began the day in negative territory and went further in the red after Wall Street opened strongly lower.
With a crucial Brexit vote also taking place in Westminster next Tuesday, a nervous mood reigned throughout the session.
Some €2 billion was wiped off the value of Irish stocks as the Iseq slumped 3 per cent, a decline that was in line with the downward trend for markets across Europe as a “risk-off” tone dominated.
Despite lower oil prices, Ryanair was an underperformer on a day of few performers. Its stock fell 5 per cent to €11.22 after the airline sector across Europe suffered in the wake of a poor trading update from Norwegian Air.
Building materials group CRH was another heavy faller, dropping 5.1 per cent to €22.23, following weak sentiment towards its peers in the US.
Bank of Ireland dropped 3.4 per cent to €5.25, with traders citing its exposure to the UK on an all-round weak day for bank stocks. Paper and packaging group Smurfit Kappa fell 4.5 per cent to €21.88 as containerboard prices weakened.
Paddy Power Betfair was one of a number of bookies that were under pressure following a UK report that gambling companies have agreed to stop advertising during live sport broadcasts, such as football matches, amid growing pressure from politicians. It fell 2.9 per cent to €73.70.
The FTSE 100 closed down almost 3.2 per cent, which was its worst performance since June 2016, when the UK voted to leave the European Union. The mid-cap FTSE 250 was down 2.8 per cent.
Falling oil and commodities prices hit heavyweight stocks, with the oil and mining sectors down 4.5 per cent and 4 per cent respectively as exporting bloc OPEC ended a key meeting without making a decision on crude output. Irish company Tullow Oil fell 7 per cent on its London listing as a result.
Industrial metals prices fell on Thursday and copper hit a three-week low after the arrest of Chinese smartphone maker Huawei’s chief financial officer dampened hopes for resolution to the US-China trade conflict.
On the mid-cap index, Indivior topped the fallers, down 11.4 per cent, as investors moved out of the drugmaker ahead of its demotion to the small-cap index. The stock has been hit hard by a US court ruling that allowed a rival to sell a copycat version of its blockbuster Suboxone drug.
The Stoxx Europe 600 ending 3.1 per cent lower, its worst session since the sell-off of June 27th, 2016, in the wake of the Brexit vote. The Stoxx 600 has fallen to a level not seen since December 2016, with all sectors deeply in the red on Thursday, while Germany’s Dax slipped into bear market.
The Dax was down 3.5 per cent on the day, while France’s Cac 40 ended 3.3 per cent lower.
Norwegian Air Shuttle plunged more than 15 per cent after releasing traffic numbers that showed soft “load factors”, or the percentages of its aircraft that it is managing to fill, while a loss on a fuel hedge contract added to its woes.
Telecoms company Ice Group postponed a planned listing on the Oslo stock exchange as a result of the global stock market turmoil.
Yields on top-rated German government bonds tumbled to new six-month lows, as a global equity selloff and a renewed slide in oil prices sent investors scurrying for safe-haven assets.
Wall Street stocks retreated with along with crude oil prices on persistent concern that the rate of global economic growth has peaked at the same time central banks scale back stimulus. The S&P 500 was on track to slump for a second day, though tech stocks such as Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet provided a modicum of support.
Financial markets remained volatile as investors reckoned the trade truce between China and the US won’t last after the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.
Bank shares in the S&P 500 fell more than 2.5 per cent, as Treasury yields slid to the lowest since August. Traders have started to doubt the Federal Reserve will raise rates even once next year as economic growth falters. – Additional reporting: Reuters /Bloomberg.