Friday, March 07 17:45:08
The ISEQ tumbled in afternoon trading today to close nearly 2pc lower as investors tried to shield themselves from any confrontation between Russia and Ukraine on the weekend.
By the close of play, the ISEQ was down 92.28 points to 5,051.56.
Above-forecast jobs data from the United States briefly helped shares pare losses. But they turned sharply lower again on reports that a U.S. warship was entering the Black Sea. The U.S. military said the planned exercise was routine. Even so, the reaction showed how volatile the market could be when news broke about Crimea. "People are a little bit nervous to go into the weekend with fully loaded long positions, given the ongoing Ukraine crisis," said Zeg Choudhry, the head of trading at Northland Capital Partners.
At home, shares in CRH fell 58c to E20.50. Italcementi has reported that FY 2013 recurring EBITDA fell 1.9pc year-on-year (yoy) to E631m, slightly ahead of our estimate of E627m. FY sales were down 5.4pc yoy at E4.235bn as cement volumes across the group declined by 6pc. The drop in volumes was not surprisingly driven by declines in Italy (-19.9pc) and Egypt (-17.6pc). More positive were increases in demand in Thailand (+5.5pc), India (+1.6pc) and North America (+1.5pc). Q4 EBITDA rose strongly, up 17.4pc yoy, driven by restructuring (total E140m) and improved sales prices.
The FAO food price index, based on international prices of a basket of five key food commodities, recorded its biggest month-on-month rise since mid-2012 in February. The increase over January was 2.6pc. Other than meat, which was flat, the other four commodities included in the index rose. Month-on-month increases of 2.9pc, 3.6pc, 4.9pc and 6.2pc were recorded for dairy, cereals, vegetable oils and sugar respectively. Kerry Group's shares fell 28c to E56.72.
Ryanair shares dipped 5c to E7.4 after Britain's competition watchdog dismissed a Ryanair appeal against a previous ruling that it has to sell most of its stake in Irish rival Aer Lingus, it said today. The Competition Commission upheld the previous decision that Ryanair's 30 percent stake in Aer Lingus could substantially reduce competition on some routes. "Ryanair's appeal dismissed," a commission spokesman said in a statement. Aer Lingus stocks rose 1c to E1.69.