US interest rate fears spark market woes

Bank of Ireland shares decline softened by State valuation upgraded of AIB stake

Stocks dropped around the world as the dollar extended gains into a fifth day, with the potential for higher US interest rates again roiling financial markets.

On a day of low volumes, the Iseq fared better than most, slipping just 0.1 per cent. The Cac 40 in France was off 2.1 per cent while Germany’s Dax was 1.7 per cent lower.


Along with most European financial stocks,

Bank of Ireland


finished the day in negative territory, down 1.14 per cent at 26 cents. The fall might have been worse had the State not upgraded the valuation of its


stake by 25 per cent, showing the growing confidence in the Irish financial sector.

Tullow Oil, whose main listing is in London, was down more than 5 per cent, as it continued to track the fluctuations in the price of oil. There appears to be good news on the horizon, however, in the form of a putative agreeement between Kenya and Uganda to build an oil pipeline that will benefit the company.

Smurfit Kappa finished the day up 0.85 per cent, after it was formally announced it is to seek a premium listing in the UK, potentially opening up its entry into the FTSE 100.

Paddy Power Betfair rose by almost 0.4 per cent, a day after announcing its chief operating officer Andy McCue is to leave the merged business.


Shares in

Anglo American




Rio Tinto

all slumped, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Basic Resources Index – which contains those mining stocks – down 1.6 per cent.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Oil and Gas index also shed 1.3 per cent, dragged down by a drop in Royal Dutch Shell, Total and BP, as oil prices fell.

British clothing retailer Next slumped 15 per cent. Next posted a 5 per cent rise in annual profit, but cautioned 2016 could be the toughest it has faced since 2008 as it anticipates a more difficult economic environment.

Its gloomy comments sparked share losses among rivals such as Marks & Spencer and Debenhams, while the wider FTSE 100 Index was also sharply lower – down more than 1.4 per cent.

Standard Chartered tumbled 7.8 per cent after peer Australia and New Zealand Banking Group warned of higher bad-debt provisions because of low commodity prices.


The volume of shares changing hands across Europe was a third per cent lower than the 30-day average. Markets are closed today.

Lenders, the worst performers of 2016, declined to a one- month low yesterday. Banco Popolare slipped 4.8 per cent after agreeing to buy Banca Popolare di Milano, which slid 5.4 per cent.

Belgium’s benchmark BEL-20 equity index showed resilience to this week’s attacks on Brussels, continuing its recent outperformance compared to other European stock markets.

New York

Heading into the Afternoon, Staples and

Office Depot

surged after a federal judge criticised the actions of regulators as they attempt to block a merger of the two office-supply chains. Staples increased 6.3 per cent, while Office Depot jumped 9.6 per cent.

PVH, the apparel company that owns the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, rose 8 per cent, the most in 18 months on a closing basis and the biggest gain in the S&P 500, after beating analyst estimates.

Energy companies rose after crude trimmed losses. Devon Energy climbed 2.8 per cent and Tesoro added 1.9 per cent. Chevron gained 0.8 per cent to wipe out a 1.4 per cent decline.

Amazon. com rose 1.5 per cent, extending its longest rally in five weeks, while Signet Jewelers added 4.2 per cent after its full-year profit outlook exceeded some analysts' forecasts.

Fertilizer makers Mosaic and CF Industries Holdings sank at least 2.9 per cent. (Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg/PA)

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is Business Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Caveat column