Irish stocks index caps lacklustre 2016

Irish stocks are headed into a loss of up to 4% in 2016, after a year of almost two halves in which prices tried to claw back the huge losses suffered following the UK’s Brexit vote in late June.

The Iseq Overall index of Irish shares, which traded lower yesterday to around 6,490 and which is down 4.5% since January, however, performed much better than some of its constituent parts that were exposed to the slump in the value of sterling against the euro.

With a chunk of earnings generated in the UK and exposed to Brexit-battered sterling, Bank of Ireland, down almost 30% this year, was also hit by scepticism over the health of European banks.

With the UK weathering the early fallout of its Brexit decision, some Irish shares clawed back significant losses late in the year, with Ryanair paring its losses to a fall of 3% in 2016, and building products group Kingspan rising to post a gain of 4% for the year.

The election of Donald Trump and his pledge to reboot the US economy boosted €27bn building products giant CRH, which climbed 21% in 2016.

New market arrival Applegreen, the fuels forecourt firm, had a torrid time, with its shares ending the year down 25%, while Fyffes, which attracted a takeover bid this month, delivered a late Christmas surprise and a 48% gain for its shareholders in 2016.

London’s FTSE 100 index of leading shares rose 14% this year, Frankfurt’s Dax was up almost 7% and the Cac-40 in Paris gained 4.5% in 2016.

Despite recent unrest, Brazil’s stock index was the world’s best performer for 2016, while Nigeria’s equity market fared the worst. For currencies, the Egyptian pound was the worst performer in 2016, while sterling, down 13% against the euro, was the worst major currency performer. Brent oil traded yesterday at $56.38 a barrel, close to its highest since July 2015.


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