Weakened yuan prompts markets slide

China’s central bank weakens currency renewing investor concern over stability

 Paddy Power Betfair lost 2 per cent, finishing at €130.25. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill

Paddy Power Betfair lost 2 per cent, finishing at €130.25. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill

 
Opec

The twin pressures led to a stumble in the global stock rally that had been underway over the past week, with US shares retreating from six-week highs in early trading in New York.

DUBLIN

CRHRyanairPaddy Power Betfair

Kerry Group bucked the trend, gaining 4.5 per cent to €74.17, after the food company published full-year results that beat expectations, with analysts at Davy Research describing them as “a very good set of numbers”.

Paper and packaging group Smurfit Kappa fell 3.3 per cent to €21.17. Kingspan was down 1.8 per cent at €23.40, having had a strong day on Monday on the back of annual results that showed a 47 per cent jump in sales.

Bank of Ireland fell 6.9 per cent as financial stocks declined, erasing the gain it recorded in Monday’s session.

LONDON

Standard CharteredBHP BillitonLondon Stock Exchange

LSE stock soared 13.7 per cent after confirming it was in talks to potentially merge with Deutsche Boerse.

Standard Chartered was the biggest declining FTSE 100 stock in percentage terms, dropping 6.7 per cent after the bank, which focuses on emerging markets, posted an 84 per cent fall in annual profits, blaming tumbling commodity prices.

BHP Billiton fell 6.1 per cent after the company slashed its interim dividend by 75 per cent, abandoning a long-held policy of steady or higher payouts as it braces for a longer-than-expected commodities downturn.

Lower oil prices pushed down shares of BP and Royal Dutch Shell after Iran’s oil minister dubbed a proposal to coordinate a production freeze as “laughable” and Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi ruled out any production cuts.

Robust results boosted housebuilder Persimmon and subprime lender Provident Financial, down 2.8 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively.

EUROPE

News of talks on a tie-up between Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange to create a European trading powerhouse sent the German exchange operator’s shares up 3.2 per cent.

French defence and electronics group Thales rose 6.3 per cent . The company ruled out its participation in a “Big Bang” merger as the aerospace industry digested news of inconclusive talks between United Technologies and Honeywell.

NEW YORK

Wall Street stocks declined from six-week highs as investors assessed global growth prospects amid

concern China will remain a drag.

Financial and technology stocks declined, with JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup losing at least 3.3 per cent, and Apple and Microsoft falling more than 1.5 per cent.

Copper and gold producer Freeport-McMoRan declined 8.6 per cent and Chevron sank 3.1 per cent as falling crude oil prices weighed on commodity shares. Better-than-expected earnings helped propel Motorola Solutions 6.8 per cent higher, while retailer Macy’s added 5.4 per cent.

(Additional reporting: Reuters / Bloomberg.)