No let up for investors as volatility continues to reign

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US shares were on track to end their worst week since the financial crisis a decade ago, while European shares fell to their lowest level in almost six months, as worries of a comeback of inflation would speed a shift to tighter monetary policies.

Heading into afternoon trading, US stock indexes had slipped into correction territory again, with a drop of more than more than 1 per cent.

The Iseq fell more than 0.7 per cent, still outperforming major European markets such as the French Cac 40, down 1.4 per cent, and the German Dax, down almost 1.3 per cent.

Tullow Oil fell 5.2 per cent to €2.33 on global concerns of a glut in oil supplies. It opened on Friday down 2.6 per cent and slid downhill throughout the session.

Cidermaker C&C continued its recent bad run, finishing the day down 2.6 per cent to €2.81. It has fallen more than 10 per cent in a fortnight, and was hit on Friday by a fall in sterling. The UK is its biggest market for Magners and Tennants lager.

Aryzta, which maintains its main listing in Switzerland, tumbled almost 7.8 per cent on the Irish exchange after a research note cast doubt on the bakery company’s turnaround prospects.

The FTSE 100 closed down 1.3 per cent. Direct Line rose 10p to 378.5p after announcing full-year results would come in ahead of expectations thanks to good results in motor and commercial and lower than expected weather-related claims.

Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland slumped 9.1p to 274.5p, after the Financial Conduct Authority said it was “highly unlikely” that a report into RBS’s mistreatment of small businesses will be published before next Friday’s deadline imposed by MPs.

Shares in Trinity Mirror jumped 6.7p to 76.5p after the publisher struck a £126.7 million deal to buy a string of titles from Richard Desmond’s media empire, including the Daily Star which is published in Ireland.

Metro Bank rose 38p to 3,488p on news that it would create 900 new jobs this year as it bulks up its apprenticeship scheme and takes its total staff roster to nearly 4,000.

European banks, whose lending businesses benefit from rising rates, ended the week down 4.6 per cent, in line with the broader market weakness following a strong start to the year.

On Friday, Italian investment bank Mediobanca rose 0.7 per cent after it raised its dividend guidance and quarterly profit beat forecasts on higher net interest income and fees.

UBI Banca declined 0.4 per cent as it planned to sell a “substantial package” of bad loans over the next three years in an acceleration of efforts to clean up its balance sheet.

Still among financials, French asset manager Amundi lost 5.8 per cent after publishing its annual results and new financial targets.

Shipping operator Moller-Maersk missed fourth-quarter profit expectations and edged 0.3 per cent lower.

Shares in French cosmetics group L’Oréal rose 0.3 per cent after its fourth-quarter sales beat expectations and comments by its chief executive regarding its intentions on Nestle’s stake further buoyed the stock.

New York
The torrid week for US shares continued. By the afternoon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 344.97 points, or 1.45 per cent, while the S&P 500 was down 32.27 points, or 1.25 per cent.

The S&P 500 has lost 7.7 per cent this week alone, its worst weekly performance since the peak of crisis in 2008.

Utilities was the only slight gainer among the 11 major S&P indexes, while consumer discretionary stocks led the decliners.

Chipmaker Nvidia was up about 0.9 per cent after its upbeat results and forecast. Expedia shares sank 19 per cent after the online travel services company said costs would outpace revenue growth this year.

FedEx and UPS dropped more than 3 per cent after the latest reports that Amazon. com Inc will be launching its own delivery service.

– Additional reporting: Bloomberg/Reuters/PA

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