Values slide on Ukraine invasion and interest rate fears

Shares in all but four Dublin-listed firms dip – heavyweights Kingspan, Ryanair, CRH fall

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite slid more than 4.5%. Photograph: Getty

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite slid more than 4.5%. Photograph: Getty

 

Stocks tumbled at rates not seen since mid-2020 on Monday as fears grew of a Russian attack on Ukraine and investors braced themselves for interest rate hikes.

News that the US had ordered diplomats home from the Ukraine and that Russia continued to send troops to its border with the eastern European country fuelled fears that an attack is near.

Investors also believe US central bankers will signal borrowing charge increases after they meet on Wednesday.

DUBLIN

Shares in insulation specialist Kingspan slumped 11.6 per cent to €79.22 after British housing minister Michael Gove threatened to ban companies that failed to offer to pay to bring buildings in line with fire safety rules.

Mr Gove did not name any businesses. Traders said on Monday that investors feared the Irish group could be hit along with others. Kingspan has said it welcomes the chance for dialogue with the British government.

Ryanair closed 3.3 per cent down at €16.10 after what dealers described as a “volatile day” for the airline. The stock hit a low of €15.715 about lunchtime before recovering ground later.

Shares in all but four Dublin-listed companies fell on Monday. Building materials giant CRH shed 4.68 per cent to close at €43.14. Traders said the prospect of high interest rates put investors off construction stocks.

LONDON

Ice cream, bleach and soap maker Unilever soared on reports that activist investor Nelson Peltz, former chairman of its rival Proctor and Gamble, is building a stake in the company.

Shares in Unilever, whose products include Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and Domestos bleach, climbed 7.3 per cent to 3,943.5p, leaving it atop the blue chip FTSE 100 index.

Meanwhile, mobile phone network Vodafone climbed 4.5 per cent to 122.86p after Reuters reported the company and Iliad were in talks to strike a deal in Italy that would combine their respective businesses.

Vodafone’s and Unilever’s strong performances helped insulate the FTSE 100 from the worst of Monday’s carnage.

The index closed 2.6 per cent down while benchmarks across Europe lost 3.5 per cent and more.

Woodies DIY owner, Grafton Group, which has its only listing in London, dropped 4.65 per cent to 1,128p as building-linked stocks fell out of favour.

Aer Lingus and British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group closed 6.5 per cent down at 147.8p. Budget rival Easyjet retreated 5.32 per cent to 594.8p.

EUROPE

Europe’s leading Stoxx 600 index fell 3.8 per cent on Monday, its worst performance since June 2020.

Travel and leisure stocks and rate-sensitive technology shares were the hardest hit, each falling more than 5 per cent. Tech stocks closed at their lowest level since June 2021.

Air France KLM shed 3.12 per cent to close at €3.88 in Paris. German rival Lufthansa slid 5.05 per cent to end the day at €6.56.

CRH rival, Italy’s Buzzi Unicem, lost 4.66 per cent to close at €18.11. Construction-related stocks suffered as high interest rates could slow building activity.

Markets around the Europe fell sharply on Monday. Frankfurt’s DAX was down 3.5 per cent while the CAC in Paris shed 3.7 per cent.

NEW YORK

A frenzied sell-off hit Wall Street on Monday, sending the S&P 500 sliding more than 2.3 per cent by 6.30pm Irish time.

Technology stocks, which have been on the leading edge of the market decline this year, were walloped again Monday.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite slid more than 4.5 per cent. The Nasdaq had already crossed the correction threshold last week and is now down 17 per cent from its November high.

The S&P is down more than 10 per cent from the beginning of the year. The last time the index fell at that rate was March 2020 when Covid-19 lockdowns spooked investors. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg, Reuters

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