IRISH shares dipped slightly yesterday despite the State making a €10m profit on the sale of part of its interest in bailed-out Bank of Ireland.
By the close in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index had lost 0.29pc, or 10.1 points, to close at 3,504.23 in the first drop of the year after an impressive rally stretching back to New Year's Eve.
The Dublin market fell sharply on opening before running flat for the early part of the morning and then recovering to close the session. Some of the big losers included food ingredients company Kerry Group, which fell 2.98pc, or 11.69 points, to end at €38.61.
Bookmaker Paddy Power was down 2.39pc, or 4.39 points, to €62.57, while speciality baker Aryzta fell 1.5pc, or 3.65 points, to €40.70.
On the other side of the board, exploration firm Fastnet Oil and Gas shot up 29.63pc, or 0.88 points, to end the session at €0.35.
Grafton Group also recorded a gain, up 6.79pc, or 3.77 points, to €4.18, after construction supplies firm issued a short trading update stating that its revenues last year rose to €2.17bn.
Bank of Ireland shares remained flat throughout the day despite the announcement of the sale of its contingent capital notes, closing the session at 14c each.
The change in ownership of the bonds does not affect the bank.
The FTSE 100 added 0.7pc at the close in London, its highest level since May 22, 2008.
Vodafone rose 1.9pc following a report that European telecommunications operators have discussed a regional mobile-phone network.
Shire gained 2.3pc as the company said it will meet its earlier guidance for full-year earnings growth. Insurance giant Aviva dropped 2.2pc after selling its stake in Delta Lloyd NV for €433.8m.
The positive trend experienced in the UK was also felt across the continent, as European stocks rose to the highest in more than 22 months. National benchmark indices advanced in 16 of the 18 western European markets. France's CAC 40 climbed 0.3pc as did Germany's DAX.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.7pc at the close of trading, the highest since February 18, 2011. The benchmark gauge last week surged 3.3pc after US politicians agreed on a compromise budget.
"Alcoa's results were good, especially the revenue numbers and forward guidance, as was the comment that demand in China is coming back," said Manish Singh, head of investment at Crossbridge Capital in London.
"US earnings will probably beat expectations and this should lift European stocks."
The volume of shares traded on the Stoxx 600 yesterday was 70pc higher than the average of the last 30 days.
Telecom Italia soared 8.8pc. Deutsche Telekom advanced 3.4pc and France Telecom climbed 4.3pc.