Spanish banks consider leaving Catalonia after unrest
Iseq Index down 0.5%, driven by CRH and Ryanair, while US stocks hit new record high
Nine of the 11 major S&P indexes ended the day higher, led by the information technology and financial sectors
Two of Spain’s biggest banks are considering moving their headquarters out of Catalonia following recent unrest, while the three main US indexes climbed to fresh record highs after gains in technology stocks.
The Iseq index finished the day down 0.5 per cent, driven mainly by building materials company CRH and Ryanair, which were down 0.75 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively.
Ryanair traded down to €17 after being very steady at that throughout the day. “It traded about 14 million shares against an average of about 4.5 million,” noted a Davy analyst. “So it was a very busy stock today and we’re very interested to see where it goes tomorrow. It was down just below €16 and up to €17.50 this week, so it’s been very volatile to put it mildly.”
There was “very good volume” in relation to AIB, which traded up to €5.12 at one stage. The Davy analyst said that was “pretty close to an all-time high” for the bank. It closed out the day at €5.11.
Bank of Ireland was described as having been “under a little bit of pressure” before finishing up at €6.82.
“It was low on Wednesday and went a little bit better today before running out of steam. That was a little disappointing given the movement it had earlier in the day.”
Paddy Power had a “good day”, and closed up about 0.7 per cent. “There was a lot of interest and it was a good performance following some losses recently,” added the analyst.
A sharp fall in sterling boosted Britain’s main share index, with basic resources and oil and gas stocks contributing most to the upswing. The FTSE 100 closed up 0.5 per cent after the pound hit a four-week low against the dollar.
Miners Anglo American, Glencore, Antofagasta and Rio Tinto lifted the index with gains between 1.8 per cent and 3 per cent. Merlin shares posted the best performance of the index with a 3.4 per cent rise after a source said the Madame Tussauds owner submitted an offer for parts of Seaworld.
Tesco shares recovered from Wednesday’s losses, up 1.4 per cent and boosted by UBS raising its price target on the stock. Britain’s biggest energy provider Centrica failed to bounce back from its losses during the previous session. SSE took 1 per cent back as the sector urges the government to reconsider.
The French Cac 40 rose 0.3 per cent while the German Dax closed relatively flat. Brent crude prices jumped 2.5 per cent after Russian and Saudi Arabian officials suggested they would be open to an agreement that could see oil production caps extended into 2018.
Two of Spain’s biggest banks, Sabadell and Caixabank, are considering moving their headquarters out of Catalonia, a sign that the wealthy region’s push for independence from Spain could scare away big business.
The board of Banco Sabadell, Spain’s fifth-largest bank, was holding an extraordinary meeting on Thursday to consider whether to move from the city of Sabadell, the bank said in a statement.
Financial markets have been shaken this week by fears that secession would undermine the euro zone’s fourth-biggest economy, dealing a heavy blow to Spain’s finances and sending the Catalan economy into a tailspin.
Catalonia is a centre of industry and tourism that accounts for a fifth of Spain’s economy, a production base for major multi-nationals from Volkswagen to Nestlé, and home to Europe’s fastest-growing sea port.
The three main US indexes climbed to fresh record highs for the fourth day in a row, fuelled by gains in technology stocks, including Microsoft and Amazon. com.
Nine of the 11 major S&P indexes were higher, led by the information technology and financial sectors. Tech stocks, which have powered much of the recent rally, have risen about 26 per cent this year.
“Investors are planning years in the future and so I don’t think valuation [of tech stocks] really matters to the people who are buying them as a momentum sort of investing play,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group.
Data pointed to underlying strength in the economy despite weather-related disruptions, with the trade deficit narrowing in August and jobless claims falling more than expected last week.
– (Additional reporting: agencies)