Shares decline as central bankers signal on interest rates

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Shares slid on Friday as central bankers signalled that interest rate rises may not be far off.

DUBLIN

Shares in insulation maker Kingspan tumbled 7.59 per cent to €91.50, one of the day’s biggest moves.

Dealers said that a big buyer of the Irish group’s stock in recent days was not active on Friday, leaving only sellers, which pushed the price down.

Earlier this week Kingspan issued a formal notice to the market showing that US investor Capital Group had boosted its stake in the Irish business to 9 per cent from 8 per cent.

Most of Dublin’s leading stocks suffered on Friday, dragging down the Iseq index of Irish shares. Global building materials manufacturer CRH fell 1.69 per cent to €46.57, in line with its industry generally.

Paddy Power and Betfair owner, betting behemoth Flutter Entertainment, shed 1.45 per cent to close at €135.75.

Airline Ryanair closed 1.13 per cent down at €16.625. Packaging manufacturer Smurfit Kappa shed 2.23 per cent to €47.80.

Among smaller stocks, AIB dipped 0.73 per cent to €2.581. Bank of Ireland was virtually unchanged at €5.84.

LONDON

Shareholders marvelled as Spiderman saved Cineworld. The cinema chain’s shares leapt 4 per cent to 40.35 pence sterling on news that the movie Spiderman: No Way Home had rescued box office sales.

Discount retailer B&M European Value Retail fell 5.3 per cent to 564.8 pence after a share sale announcement.

Investors switched off after computer and TV chain Currys trimmed profit forecasts following what it dubbed a “challenging” Christmas technology market.

Its shares fell 6.9 per cent to 104.7p as it cut full-year profit guidance to £155 million from a previous prediction of £160 million.

EUROPE

Shares in energy giant Electricité de France (EDF) slumped as the French government moved to curb rapidly rising power prices.

EDF stock fell 14.6 per cent to €8.84 after the government ordered the utility it to sell more cheap nuclear power to smaller rivals to ease rising energy costs.

The fall ranked it as Friday’s worst performer in the pan-European Stoxx 600, which shed 1 per cent on the day.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank joined its US counterpart in signalling possible interest rate rises.

President Christine Lagarde warned that the EU’s financial watchdog would take any steps needed to bring inflation down to 2 per cent.

German business software giant SAP closed flat, even after it said fourth-quarter revenue from its cloud computing business jumped 28 per cent.

Europe’s third-largest insurer Assicurazioni Generali dropped 1.5 per cent to €18.44 after announcing director Francesco Caltagirone has resigned from the board amid a boardroom spat between top investors.

Silicon specialist Wacker Chemie jumped 7.3 per cent to €152.30 after saying 2021 earnings were above its own target range and beat analyst expectations.

US

Wall Street’s main indexes fell on Friday as declines among heavyweight financial stocks led by JPMorgan made for a weak start to the fourth-quarter earnings season.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors fell in early afternoon trading, with financials falling 1.3 per cent.

JPMorgan Chase retreated 5.3 per cent on reporting weaker performance at its trading arm, even as it beat earnings expectations for the fourth quarter.

The bellwether lender also warned that soaring inflation, looming threat of Omicron and trading revenues returning to normal levels are set to challenge the banking industry’s growth in the coming months.

Citigroup fell 2.2 per cent after posting a 26 per cent drop in fourth-quarter profit, while asset manager BlackRock fell 1.6per cent after missing quarterly revenue expectations.

Megacap growth companies including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Tesla and Meta were mixed a day after a sell off. US stock markets will remain shut on Monday on account of a public holiday. – Additional reporting: Reuters

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