Stocks down to lowest level in three months

Negative sentiment across Europe as tensions rise along Ukraine border

European stocks dropped to their lowest level in more than three months as concern mounted about a build-up of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine, and a report showed German factory orders unexpectedly fell.

National benchmark indices declined in all 18 western-European markets yesterday. Germany’s DAX and the UK’s FTSE 100 both retreated 0.7 per cent, while France’s CAC 40 decreased 0.6 per cent.

Portugal’s PSI 20 Index slid 4.1 per cent. In Ireland, the Iseq overall index fell by 0.51 per cent to 4,563.18. DUBLIN Most of the main stocks on the Iseq closed lower yesterday, mirroring negative sentiment across Europe as tensions in Ukraine rose.

Aer Lingus closed down 1.6 per cent at €1.314 after it emerged that Denis O'Brien had sold 4.1 million shares in the airline, to reduce his stake to 2.4 per cent.


Ryanair finished 0.7 per cent lower on the day in spite of posting strong traffic numbers. Traffic grew by 300,000 to 9.15 million in July, a rise of 4 per cent, while its load factor rose by 3 percentage points to 91 per cent.

Ferry operator ICG closed down 4.1 per cent at €2.685. Both property Reits finished the day lower, with Hibernian down 2.4 per cent and Green closing 0.4 per cent off.

Among the industrial groups, building materials company CRH closed down 0.8 per cent at €17.115 while Smurfit Kappa was down 3 per cent at €16.105. Paddy Power was one of the few companies to buck the trend, closing up 2 per cent at €52.82. Hotel group Dalata finished 3.3 per cent ahead at €3.048.

The five most traded stocks yesterday were Bank of Ireland, CRH, Ryanair, Kerry Group, and Smurfit Kappa. LONDON Shire, Smith and Nephew and AstraZeneca each retreated more than 3.5 per cent as a gauge of health-care companies declined.

Tesco and J Sainsbury fell as a report showed UK shop prices dropped.

Vodafone Group added 1.1 per cent, snapping five days of losses. The FTSE 100 Index slid 46.32 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 6,636.16 at the close in London, the lowest level since April 17.

The broader FTSE All-Share Index dropped 0.7 per cent.

A gauge of health-care stocks in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 1.6 per cent, the most since April.

Shire, which AbbVie Inc. agreed to buy last month for $55 billion, slid 4 per cent to 4,680 pence.

Smith and Nephew, a maker of knee replacements that has been a takeover target for a decade, dropped 4.1 per cent to 1,020 pence.

Vodafone advanced 1.1 percent to 197.9 pence. The stock declined 3.5 percent in the past five trading days, completing its longest losing streak since June.


Iliad SA plunged 5.7 per cent after people familiar with the matter said T-Mobile US plans to reject the French company's $15 billion bid to buy a controlling stake. Deutsche Telekom AG, which owns the US mobile-phone operator, lost 2.8 per cent. Swiss Re AG slipped 3 per cent after posting second-quarter profit that fell short of analysts' estimates.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 0.9 per cent to 329.21 at the close of trading, paring the gauge's advance this year to 0.3 per cent. NEW YORK US stocks rose in early trading, after equities slipped to a two-month low on Tuesday, as a rally in energy and financial shares overshadowed declines in Sprint and Time Warner amid merger news.

Valero Energy jumped 2.6 per cent to pace gains among energy companies after the group plunged 2.1 per cent on Tuesday. Bank of America climbed 2 per cent as the company raised its dividend.

Sprint slid 18 percent after a person with knowledge of the matter said it ended talks to acquire T-Mobile US. – (Additional reporting by Bloomberg)

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times