Shares and gilts fall as US housing figures put focus on Fed meeting


SHARE and gilt prices drifted lower in Dublin, in line with the weaker tone on international markets, after higher-than-expected US housing starts put the focus on yesterday's meeting of the US Federal Reserve's policy-making Open Markets Committee.

By the time the European markets closed, no decision had come from Washington but most in Dublin were of the view that if the Fed does increase rates, it will wait until the new year.

In Dublin, the biggest falls in gilt prices were at the longer end of the market but the falls were decidedly modest given the substantial gains of the previous two trading days.

Ten-year gilts dealt down 43p to produce a closing yield of 6.67 per cent while five-year gilts dealt down 34p to a closing yield of 6.08 per cent. At the very long end of the market, prices fell 60p with the 2015 stock on a closing yield of 6.91 per cent.

Share prices fell by a few pence across most of the range of stocks, the only exceptions being Irish Life, Bank of Ireland and Smurfit which went against the trend. Irish Life was up 3 1/2p on 270p while Smurfit was 4p higher on 170p, the top of its trading range for the past few months. Bank of Ireland was 1p firmer on 508p.

Otherwise it was a case of downward drift, with AIB down 2 1/2p on 382 1/2p and CRH 1p lower on 598p.

Among the second-liners, James Crean lost 5p to 200p, Fyffes was 2p lower on 105p while Green was off 8 3/8p on 234 5/8p. Independent lost 2p to 300p, Jurys dropped 10p to 265p while Woodchester was 3p lower on 209p.

Adare was unchanged in 560p, the level at which three of its directors engaged in profitable share-dealing.