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Market shares fall as trade war concerns depress confidence

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Shares slid on Wednesday as trade war fears dented investors’ confidence and the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.25 per cent.

DUBLIN
Financial services group IFG fell 2.91 per cent to €2.12 after reporting 2017 losses of €400,000.

Elsewhere in Dublin, stocks exposed to Britain’s retail or consumer market suffered in the wake of bad news from B&Q owner Kingfisher and men’s clothes chain Moss Bros.

Cider maker C&C was down 1.89 per cent at €2.60. Ryanair was off 1.06 per cent at €16.315. Traders noted that the carrier still performed better than its industry, which lost ground as oil prices rose.

Financials also slid following a negative statement from Deutche Bank management on prospects for its corporate arm and a poor day for the sector as a whole in Europe.

AIB fell 1.03 per cent to €4.80, Bank of Ireland dipped 0.7 per cent to €7.085 and Permanent TSB slipped 0.96 per cent to €1.862.

LONDON
DIY chain B&Q’s owner Kingfisher led British shares to a 15-month low on Wednesday.

Kingfisher closed 10.69 per cent down at 301.60 pence sterling after reporting a 10.1 per cent slump in 2017 profits to £682 million and saying that sales fell 5.1 pre cent in the last three months of the year.

Veronique Laury, chief executive of the group that also owns trade supplier Screwfix, said prospects for its main markets were mixed.

The news hit Irish group Grafton, which has a big exposure to the UK market and whose shares are listed in London. Its stock fell 3.51 per cent to 812p.

Suit seller Moss Bros lost almost a quarter of its value, tumbling 23.21 per cent to 45p. The group piled more bad news on a UK retail industry, reeling from Brexit fallout and the surge in on-line shopping, when it issued a profit warning blaming suppliers and falling customer numbers.

Among other retailers, clothing chain Next was down 1.2 per cent and Penney’s owner ABF fell 1.1 per cent.

UK retail shares have tumbled 9 per cent this month, outpacing a 3 per cent drop in the wider FTSE 350 index. The retail index is at its lowest since the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

Hammerson, owner of the Dundrum Town Centre and ILAC shopping malls in Dublin, climbed 5.2 per cent to 570p.

Hammerson rebuffed takeover bid from France’s Klepierre on Monday. Shares in Hammerson takeover target Intu Properties tumbled 4.3 per cent at the same time.

EUROPE
Financials contributed the most to losses, with the European banking sector down 0.9 per cent, led lower by a 5.15 per cent drop in Deutsche Bank to €12.01 after negative comments from its chief financial officer, James von Moltke, on the outlook for the first quarter.

Speaking at an investor conference Mr von Moltke said he expected a €450 million headwind for its corporate and investment banking business in the first quarter.

French luxury goods maker Hermes jumped 2.4 per cent to €464 after its profit margin reached a record in 2017 and the company increased its dividend.

Ubisoft rose 3.8 per cent after Vivendi sold its entire stake in the video game maker for €2 billion. Ubisoft has long opposed the French media group’s involvement in the company. Vivendi’s shares rose 0.7 per cent.

Elsewhere, Getinge fell 6.9 per cent after the Swedish medical technology group said it would book a 350 million Swedish krona (€34.66 million) provision in the first quarter related mainly to a fraud probe in Brazil.

US
US stocks rose on Wednesday after the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates as expected and shares in under-siege social media website Facebook recovered.

Facebook shares gained about 1.34 per cent and provided some relief to the technology sector. Claims of data misuse earlier this week sparked a sell-off that wiped $50 billion off the company’s value.

General Mills slumped 9.52 per cent after the company cut its full-year profit forecast due to higher freight and commodity costs.

That weighed on other food companies, with Kellogg off 3.91 per cent, JM Smucker down 4.11 per cent and ConAgra off 3.10 per cent.

Southwest Airlines fell 4.98 per cent after the carrier cut its forecast for a key revenue metric.

– Additional reporting: Reuters

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