Irish shares up slightly after break
IRISH shares rose slightly yesterday, as traders continued to drift back after the Christmas break.
A day after reopening with a loss, the ISEQ Overall Index closed up 0.06pc, or 1.59 points, at 2,845.26.
On another day of light volumes, the index spent much of the session in negative territory before an afternoon rally pushed it higher.
There was little direction in the market, with no one sector in particular standing out, although food companies had a decent day. Greencore climbed 2.48pc to reach 62c.
Speciality baker Aryzta added 1.89pc to close at €36.63 while cider maker C&C was up 2.86pc at €2.88. Construction giant CRH rose 1.3pc to €14.83.
On the other side of the market, transport group Irish Continental Group slumped 5.83pc to €14.55, albeit on low volume.
Kingspan did not enjoy any halo effect from CRH's gain, sliding 2.96pc to €6.16 while Kerry Group dropped less than 1pc to €27.81.
Elsewhere, European stocks advanced for the fourth time in five days as business activity in the US expanded more than forecast.
National benchmark indices advanced in 11 of the 18 western European markets yesterday. Germany's DAX rose 0.5pc, while France's CAC 40 added 0.6pc.
The UK FTSE 100 rose 0.6pc as well, while the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.4pc.
A US Labour Department report showed that first applications for unemployment benefits increased to 381,000 last week, after falling to the lowest level since April 2008 in the previous period.
In Europe, Italy missed its fundraising target at the auction of debt maturing between 2014 and 2022, while its borrowing costs eased. Meanwhile, Spain's economy shrank in the final quarter of 2011, battered by financial market tensions and a deteriorating global economic outlook, the Bank of Spain said.
"The yield on Italian 10-year bonds auctioned coming at just under 7pc shouldn't be classified as a success," said Manish Singh, the London-based head of investment at Crossbridge Capital. "Lingering doubts and the expected slowdown in euro-zone growth in 2012 means investors remain on the edge."
Insurers were the worst performing group of all 19 industry segments on the Stoxx 600.
Fiat retreated 1.7pc after an analyst cut the stock to "hold" from "add".
Mining shares dropped as copper declined for a second day on the London Metal Exchange. Petropavlovsk slid 3.2pc and Vedanta Resources dropped 1.9pc.
Raiffeisen Bank International led losses in a gauge of European banks, slumping 3.1pc. Banca Popolare dell'Emilia Romagna lost 3.3pc.