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ISEQ falls in line with world markets

Monday, April 07 17:37:22

The ISEQ fell sharply today as world markets sold off tech stocks.

By the close, the index was down 64.53 points to 5,051.80

Wall Street stocks sank, joining a broad retreat in global equities markets from a six-year high touched last week, while U.S. Treasuries' yields moved lower. The dollar fell against major currencies as comments from European Central Bank policymakers curbed expectations for more stimulus and boosted the euro against the greenback. The S and P 500 index of large-cap U.S. companies was on track for a third straight decline as biotech and consumer companies extended recent losses. On Friday, the Nasdaq and S and P indices suffered their worst drop since February.

Glanbia shares fell 15c to E10.90. Glanbia officially opened its new E22m speciality grain processing facility in Sioux Falls on April 4th, upgrading and extending its non-dairy ingredient capability in a 63,000 square feet plant. As well as its established flaxseed ingredient production, Glanbia will also produce other ancient grains such as chia and quinoa. The use of ancient grains in product development has grown rapidly of late, benefitting in particular from their health claims positioning (e.g. gluten-free). Innova records that new product launches in Western Europe in H1 2013, containing ancient grains, grew by 27pc year-on-year. The top end use categories were bakery, cereal, ready meals and baby food, Davy said.

Shares in CRH dropped 13c to E21.26. Lafarge and Holcim have confirmed a merger of equals that will create the world's largest building materials producer. The deal is expected to generate E1.4bn of synergies over three years with E1bn at the EBITDA level. "This is an ambitious target, equating to c.3pc of combined FY2014 sales. The group has aimed to head off competition concerns by announcing E650m-E1bn of divestments. However, significant regulatory hurdles lie ahead; we can identify 11 markets where protracted discussions are likely (including the UK, US and Canada). Not surprisingly, Bruno Lafont will lead the new company, LafargeHolcim, with Thomas Aebischer as CFO. Having had a weekend to digest the news, the deal should be well received by the market. The two groups must be confident on the regulatory front to press ahead with the deal, while the level of synergies, if achieved, is significant," said Davy.