The Irish Times
Investors worry over oil and fall in yuan
C&C the main driver in Dublin as it announces it has signed distribution deal European export-oriented companies in cars and luxury goods among top fallers
European shares fell as falling Brent crude oil prices and a drop in China’s yuan currency stoked investor risk-aversion ahead of a widely-anticipated US interest rate increase next week. In Dublin, the Iseq was down almost 0.8 per cent to 6,632 for the session, but outperformed European markets.
Despite the wind-down to Christmas, brokers said there was some activity in the Dublin market. It was chiefly driven by C&C, which announced that it has signed a distribution deal with American brewer Pabst to sell its cider brands.
The agreement not only gives Pabst the distribution rights for Magners, Thornton and its craft brands in the US, but it also includes a long-term option for the American brewer to to acquire the group’s US cider brands. Brokers said the deal had resulted in a lot of volume in the shares. C&C ended the session at ¤3.607, almost 0.7 per cent higher on the day.
Paddy Power also saw some strong activity during the day, coming under pressure to end the session 1.92 per cent lower.
Other stocks, including CRH and Bank of Ireland, finished the session lower, in line with world markets, with the latter down almost 0.9 per cent to just over 33 cent and CRH falling by 1.97 per cent to almost ¤26.13.
Britain’s top equity index fell to a 10-week low as investors dumped shares in companies focussed on South Africa following a reshuffle in the country’s government. The FTSE 100 index closed 2.2 per cent lower at 5,952.78 points after earlier falling to 5,949.84, the lowest level since late September.
Commodities shares also came under pressure on concern about the pace of economic recovery in China and a weakness in Chinese yuan, which could hit companies exporting to China.
The Anglo-African financial services company Old Mutual slumped 10.6 per cent after dropping sharply in the previous session, when the rand hit a record low after President Jacob Zuma removed Nhlanhla Nene as finance minister.
Mondi, a packaging and paper company that has a South African division, fell 3.1 per cent. The small-cap asset manager Investec fell 10.8 per cent.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 2 per cent to its lowest level in around two months, and was on course for its weakest weekly performance since August. The euro zone’s blue-chip Euro Stoxx 50 index declined by a similar amount.
Export-oriented companies in sectors such as automotive, luxury goods and commodities were among the top decliners. Shares of French carmaker Renault, watchmaker Swatch, fashion house Hugo Boss and BHP Billiton were all down 3.3 per cent 3 to 5.8 per cent.
The FTSEurofirst is down 4 per cent so far this week and also down 7.8 per cent since the start of December, after the European Central Bank disappointed some investors with only limited new economic stimulus measures this month.
All three major US indexes sank over 1 per cent as crude prices plunged on continued oversupply concerns.
Brent crude was down 3.45 per cent at $38.36 a barrel after hitting $38.28, its lowest level since December 2008. US crude was down 2.18 per cent at $35.96 per barrel after hitting $35.78, its lowest since February 2009. MSCI’s all-country world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 nations, was down 1.23 per cent, at 394.39.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.1 per cent, at 17,380.59. The S&P 500 was down 1.06 per cent, at 2,030.38. The Nasdaq Composite was off 1.15 per cent, at 4,987.34.
Meanwhile, the dollar fell against the euro as concerns over weak commodity prices and the yuan’s slump overshadowed solid US retail sales data. Those concerns were unsupportive of further monetary policy tightening by the Fed beyond December’s heavily anticipated rate increase. – (Additional reporting: Reuters)