Stocks slide as Russia-Ukraine standoff deters investors

Mining stocks lead the decline in London on a day with few climbers

Building materials group CRH closed down 2.75 per cent at €20.50 despite positive indicators from US construction markets

Building materials group CRH closed down 2.75 per cent at €20.50 despite positive indicators from US construction markets


European stocks slid, completing their first weekly decline since January, as Russia’s threat to cut off Ukraine’s gas prompted investors to hold back.

The standoff overshadowed a report that showed the US economy created more jobs last month than forecast. The Labor Department figures showed US employers added 175,000 jobs in February, exceeding median estimates of 149,000 recorded in a Bloomberg survey.

Most of the major stocks declined as the market trundled into the weekend, with building materials group CRH , the biggest stock on the Iseq index, closing down 2.75 per cent at €20.50 despite positive indicators from the US construction markets in which it is active.

On a day of mixed fortunes for airline stocks, Ryanair finished down 2.1 per cent to €7.34, while Bank of Ireland, Kingspan, C&C and Smurfit Kappa were also among the fallers.

Agri-food company Origin Enterprises posted a 2.3 per cent climb to €7.55, while AIB continued its advance from Thursday’s session, closing up 7 per cent at 17 cent.

Resources group Kenmare , which publishes its full-year results next Wednesday, rose 2.1 per cent to 19 cent.

The FTSE 100 slipped 1.1 per cent, finishing off the blue-chip index’s second week of decline as investors feared the situation in Ukraine may worsen.

Mining stocks led the decline. A gauge of basic-resources companies sank 3.5 per cent, the biggest drop among 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 index.

Glencore Xstrata declined 4.4 per cent to 324.85 pence, while Anglo American fell 6.6 per cent to 1,462.5 pence. Fresnillo retreated 2.2 per cent to 927.5 pence.

Vodafone lost 3.5 per cent to 238.7 pence after Merrill Lynch removed it from its Europe 1 list of recommended stocks.

Aviva gained 0.9 per cent to 508.5 pence. The UK’s second biggest insurer by market value had jumped 8.1 per cent in the previous session after reporting profit beat analysts’ estimates .

Benchmark indexes retreated in every western European market except Greece. Germany’s Dax fell 2 per cent, while France’s Cac 40 index dropped 1.2 per cent.

Getinge slumped 21 per cent to 182.80 kronor. The Swedish maker of sterilisation systems forecast first-quarter pretax profit of 160 million kronor, roughly a quarter of the average analyst estimate.

Fugro declined 2.1 per cent to €40.83. The Dutch deepwater-oilfield surveyor posted revenue of €2.42 billion for last year, less than the €2.63 billion that analysts had estimated.

Airbus Group dropped 3.1 per cent to €51.31. British Airways said one of its Airbus jets suffered an engine surge during a flight to France, forcing the pilot to return to London’s Heathrow airport. The UK’s flag carrier has 33 of the A319 narrow-body planes in its fleet.

Air France-KLM climbed 4.4 per cent to €10.40, rising for the fourth day to its highest price since July 2011. Europe’s largest airline said it flew 5.34 million passengers in February, a 1.8 per cent increase from a year earlier.

Stocks fluctuated as concern the situation in Ukraine could worsen offset data showing stronger jobs growth.

Safeway slid 3 per cent to $38.30 as investors weighed potential antitrust hurdles to an offer for the company.

Foot Locker jumped 7.1 per cent to $45.75. The retailer reported fourth-quarter adjusted profit of 82 cents a share, better than the 76 cents estimated by analysts. Sales also topped forecasts.

Nike rose 1.6 per cent to $79.46 after an ESPN report that the company has signed up American Football quarterback Johnny Manziel in a marketing contract. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg)