Dublin shakes off hiatus on debt
IRISH shares closed fractionally higher yesterday despite falling sharply on opening amid reports of obstacles in Ireland's attempt to get a deal on its crippling bank debt.
By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index ended the trading day up 0.04pc, or 1.41 points, to 3554.50.
The Dublin index dropped after opening on the first day since it was reported that the European Central Bank (ECB) had rejected Ireland's preferred solution over rescheduling its bank debt repayments, and that Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore warned it would be catastrophic unless agreement was reached.
The index gradually recovered throughout the day to end just slightly above Friday's close.
The winners included no-frills airline Ryanair, which increased 0.75pc to €5.54 after it reported better than expected profits for the third quarter last year.
Profits stood at €18.1m, a 21pc increase on the same period in 2012.
Drugs company Elan followed on from its positive performance on Friday with another good day, edging higher by 0.26pc to €7.65, while drinks giant C&C was up 1.4pc to finish at €4.70.
On the other side, the laggards included oil and natural gas company Providence Resources which slipped 3.56pc to €7.31, while Aer Lingus also fell 1.1pc amidst the positive news about its main competitor.
Outsourcing company Icon also fell 8.2pc to end the day at €20.15.
European stocks were little changed near a 23-month high as US reports showed that durable-goods orders increased in the world's largest economy while pending sales of houses declined. The Stoxx 600 slipped 0.1pc at the close.
National benchmark indexes gained in 11 of the 18 western European markets.
The UK's FTSE 100 added 0.2pc, while France's CAC 40 advanced less than 0.1pc. Germany's DAX retreated 0.3pc.
"Markets have run quite well and are at the top end of their trading ranges," said Andrea Williams, head of European equities at Royal London Asset Management in London.
"There's some risk of a setback unless we get good corporate numbers and optimistic statements.
Engineering group SBM Offshore rose 3.4pc after Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation for the stock.
Retail giant Debenhams, the second-largest UK department-store chain, dropped 2.9pc after Morgan Stanley cut its rating of the shares.
The brokerage lowered its rating on the UK general retail industry to "cautious" and said analysts' estimates for the industry's profit growth in 2013 are too high.
The volume of shares trading on the Stoxx 600 was 7.9pc higher than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.