Travel and banking stocks lead plunge in European markets

Energy stocks rise as oil prices exceed $130 a barrel amid inflation concerns

European stocks ended off session lows on Monday, helped by a 4.3 per cent rally in energy stocks as oil prices rose above $130 (€119.40) a barrel, but inflation fears amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict saw German and Italian shares confirm a bear market. US markets also fell heavily.

Dublin

The Iseq index fell 1.7 per cent, with the main banks following many of their European peers into the red ahead of a European Central Bank meeting this week, with mixed views about how the central bank will respond to the potential economic impact of the Ukraine conflict.

AIB finished the session down 6.6 per cent to €1.83. Bank of Ireland dropped 6.8 per cent to €5.03 per share.

Travel stocks were hit particularly hard. Ryanair was down 7.8 per cent to €12.24, while Dalata, Ireland's biggest hotel group, was down 6.7 per cent to €3.34.

Tullow Oil was up by 6.4 per cent to 69 cents per share as oil prices surged due to the conflict.

London

The blue-chip index ended 0.4 per cent lower after earlier falling as much as 2.8 per cent, with consumer staple stocks like Diageo , Unilever, British American Tobacco and Reckitt Benckiser leading the decline. Energy shares jumped 6.6 per cent as oil prices spiked to their highest levels since 2008.

Amigo Holdings soared 136.4 per cent after Britain's financial regulator said the sub-prime lender could restart lending if it meets certain conditions and its new business rescue plan is approved by the London High Court.

Spectris rose 4 per cent after the electrical engineering company terminated talks regarding a possible £1.79 billion (€2.16 billion) buyout bid for Oxford Instruments

Coppa Club operator Various Eateries saw shares improve after it slashed its losses for the past year as sales rebounded during a "volatile and challenging" period. The restaurant group, which also operates under the Tavolino brand, finished 4p higher at 61.5p.

Europe

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index cut losses of about 3 per cent to close at a near one-year low, down 1.1 per cent. Banking and auto stocks led declines. The German Dax and Italy’s MIB have shed more than 20 per cent from their record closing highs on January 5th, confirming bear market levels. The indexes were down 2 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively for the day.

The euro-zone bank index tumbled 4.1 per cent to a 13-month low ahead of the ECB meeting later this week. Shares in UniCredit, Raiffeisen and Societe Generale, among banks exposed to Russia, all fell between 4.2 per cent and 5.7 per cent.

Italian steel pipe maker Tenaris surged 13 per cent. With Russian steel exports expected to lose access to the European market, analysts sees a market opportunity for established producers like Tenaris and France's Vallourec.

New York

Megacap growth names and financial stocks dragged Wall Street’s main indexes more than 1 per cent lower, as the prospect of a ban on oil imports from Russia sent crude prices soaring and fuelled concerns about spiralling inflation.

Financial, communication services and consumer discretionary dropped more than 2 per cent each. Bank of America slumped 5.5 per cent, dragging the S&P 500 banks index down 3.4 per cent.

Payment service providers Visa, American Express and Mastercard lost nearly 4 per cent after they suspended operations in Russia. Microsoft, Amazon. com and Nvidia fell between 2 per cent and 3.3 per cent to weigh the most on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes.

Cruise operator Royal Caribbean Cruises and carrier United Airlines Holdings plummeted 6.8 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively, to lead losses among travel companies, as the jump in oil prices threatened to again disrupt a nascent recovery. Defence stocks L3Harris Technologies, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin gained between 3.8 per cent and 4 per cent.

– (Additional reporting: Reuters/PA)