Torrid day on markets as traders take fright over worsening situation in Ukraine

Banks, industrial stocks and travel companies fare poorly

European stocks sank to near one-year lows on Friday, as auto and bank stocks took a battering on reports of a nuclear power plant on fire amid fierce fighting between Ukraine and Russian troops.

Wall Street’s main indexes also fell in a broad decline as the intensifying war in Ukraine overshadowed an acceleration in jobs growth last month that highlighted the strength of the US economy.


It was an extremely tough day for the Iseq, down 5.5 per cent as all its major multinationals struggled.

AIB was among the worst hit as banks struggled across Europe generally. It finished the session down 10.4 per cent to €1.96 per share. Bank of Ireland was down 4.4 per cent to €5.39.


The globally-focused big industrial stocks all fared poorly. A day after its annual results, CRH was down 7.5 per cent to €36.56. Paper and packaging group Smurfit Kappa was down 8 per cent to €36.87. Both were also among the heaviest fallers on the FTSE 100 in London, where they are also listed.


Britain’s blue-chip and mid-cap stock indexes recorded their worst week since March 2020 as concerns over the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine deepened. The blue-chip FTSE 100 ended the session 3.5 per cent lower and was down 6.4 per cent over the week, with precious metal miners, automakers and travel stocks the main losing sub-indexes.

Banking shares including HSBC and Barclays and oil and gas giants Shell and BP were among the top drags on the FTSE 100.

Dundrum Town Centre-owner Hammerson gained 1.1 per cent after the mall operator reported a smaller annual loss and a drop in debt levels. Losses were cut over the last year thanks to the more than £500 million (€607m) it had raised from selling parts of the business. There is also rebounding demand for retail space, it said

Mitie's shares sank 10.6 per cent after Britain's antitrust regulator said it is investigating the outsourcing firm over potential breaches of competition law relating to the tender for contracts to run two immigration removal centres.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Evraz, up 6.9p to 60p, Fresnillo, up 58.8p to 742p, London Stock Exchange, up 270p to 7,254p, SSE, up 29.5p to 1,595p, and Hargreaves Lansdown, up 14.9p to 336.6p.

The biggest fallers included Burberry, down 150p to 1,641p, and BT, down 13p to 167.45p.


Euro zone banks tumbled 7.9 per cent as government bond yields fell, with soaring commodity prices, triggered by western sanctions against Russia – a top commodity exporter, raising concerns about runaway inflation and slowing economic growth.

The auto-heavy German DAX closed down 4.4 per cent to over one-year lows as carmakers tumbled 5.6 per cent, to be among the worst performers this week among European sectors.

Among other regional indexes, France’s CAC 40 dropped 5.0 per cent, while Italy’s FTSE MIB sank 6.2 per cent.

Dutch bank ING dropped 9.7 per cent after it said that about €700 million in outstanding loans were affected by "new sanctions on [Russian] specific entities and individuals".

Michelin dropped 7.2 per cent after the French tyre maker said it would temporarily halt production at some of its plants in Europe due to logistical issues.


Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors declined, with financials falling the most. The broader banks index extended its loss for the week to 8.7 per cent, putting it on course for its biggest weekly drop since June 2020.

Amazon. com, Apple and Microsoft all slipped more than 1 per cent, while Nvidia Corp's 3 per cent drop weighed the most on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes.

Gap fell 2.4 per cent even as the apparel retailer forecast upbeat 2022 earnings. Google owner Alphabet slipped 2.1 per cent, leading the declines among the mega-cap growth names.

(Additional reporting: Reuters/PA)

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times