European markets flat amid concerns over Fed rate moves
European stock markets ended the final session of the week relatively flat, as investors awaited a speech by Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen and US traders eyed a long weekend.
After European markets closed, Yellen, speaking at Harvard yesterday, said "probably in the coming months such a move [a rates hike] would be appropriate".
Crude oil prices eased after hitting seven-month highs above $50 a barrel the day before. The dollar added to gains after US data showed economic growth slowed in the first quarter although not as sharply as initially thought.
A surge in home building and steady inventory accumulation partially offset modest consumer spending and soft business investment.
Ireland's ISEQ Overall Index edged 0.7pc higher to 6,503.74. Bank of Ireland continued its advances, rising 1.1pc to 27 cent. Shares in hotel operator Dalata were 1.1pc higher at €4.96, while CRH ended the session 1.1pc higher at €27.40. Drinks company C&C also rose 1.1pc, to €4.11. Figures out yesterday showed that Ireland's retail sales rebounded at the start of the second quarter, rising 3.6pc year-on-year in April, helped by more people returning to employment.
The UK's FTSE-100 was unchanged yesterday, while France's CAC-40 was also flat. Germany's DAX was 0.13pc higher.
Shares in Royal Mail rose more than 2pc, the top gainer in the FTSE 100 index, with traders saying that the stock was helped by a read-across from a report of a possible merger between Belgian and Dutch mail operators Bpost and PostNL.
The UK mining index fell 1.3pc amid lingering concerns about global metals demand.
Energy shares also fell as oil markets slipped around 1pc, retreating from seven-month highs, as traders weighed the prospect of crude production intensifying as prices near $50 a barrel.