European stocks post their biggest weekly gain since January
Irish shares were little changed as the week drew to a close, but the major European stocks extended an all-time high, posting their biggest weekly gain since January.
By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was down just fractionally by 0.08pc or 5.29 points to end the trading week at 6232.29.
The leaders on the Dublin market included food ingredients company Kerry Group, which rose 1.3pc to €66.31, while Ryanair closed up 1pc to €11.39.
On the other side of the board, the laggards included packaging giant Smurfit Kappa, which fell 0.5pc to €28.91, while building materials firm CRH dropped 0.6pc to €24.84.
Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.9pc to 412.93 at the close of trading in London. It has climbed 3.8pc in a holiday-shortened week.
Rallies in Nokia and Shire led technology and healthcare stocks higher yesterday.
The benchmark gauge surpassed a record reached in 2000 on Thursday as data showed German industrial production beat forecasts, fuelling optimism that the Eurozone economy is improving.
That took its annual rally to 21pc as the euro weakened with the European Central Bank starting a quantitative-easing programme. Similar measures by the Federal Reserve helped US stocks more than triple from a 2009 low, including a 30pc rally in 2013.
"This year will be Europe's answer to what US equities gave us in 2013," Peter Garnry, Saxo Bank's head of equity strategy, said.
"Companies are facing extremely cheap financing rates, the lowest euro in a decade, low oil prices, QE and an improving economy. If all these positive factors can't get Europe back on track, then nothing will."
Fourteen of the 17 western-European markets open yesterday advanced. Benchmark gauges in Norway and Germany posted the biggest gains.