ISEQ adds 1.28pc for new high
It was a relatively quiet start to the week for European stock markets, with bourses broadly unchanged.
That was despite data from China that showed the non-manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 54.5 last months from 56.2 in January. Anything below 50 on the gauge signifies contraction, anything above it, expansion.
China's government intensified its three-year campaign to cool the real estate market, ordering larger deposits and stricter enforcement of sales taxes.
In Europe, finance ministers met yesterday in Brussels where they discussed the Cyprus bailout. A solution was thought to be closer yesterday. Cypriot finance minister Michael Sarris said at the weekend that his country's banks have had "substantial outflows of deposits".
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped less than 0.1pc to 289 by the close in London as more than four stocks fell for every three that rose.
"It seems that equities have run a bit too fast relative to the reality of a still subdued, and in some places, vulnerable recovery," said Witold Bahrke, who helps oversee $55bn of assets as senior strategist at PFA Pension in Copenhagen. "Together with increasing political noise, from Europe primarily, this doesn't bode well."
In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index was one of the standout performers of the day, buoyed by gains made by Bank of Ireland.
The index jumped 48.15 points, or 1.28pc, to finish the session at 3,810.35. That's another fresh high for the index, which is now trading at a level not seen since around October 2008 just as the financial crisis was taking a firm hold.
Bank of Ireland said that its pre-tax loss for 2012 was €1.5bn, with its financial figures in line with what analysts had expected. Shares in the bank were up over 5pc at one stage yesterday but settled back to close up 3.8pc at 13.6 cent.
Other movers included pharmaceutical firm Elan, which gained 2.8pc, or 24.4 cent in Dublin to €8.84 after the company announced plans to pay shareholders a dividend using royalties from a stake in a drug it's selling.
The move is also seen as an effort to thwart a possible $6.5bn bid for Elan.
Decliners included Donegal Creameries, which fell 3.5pc, or nearly 13 cent, to €3.50 and financial services firm IFG, which shed 2.7pc, or nearly 4 cent, to €1.41.
National benchmark indices dropped in 11 of the 18 western- European markets yesterday. The UK's FTSE 100 slipped 0.5pc, France's CAC 40 rose 0.4pc and Germany's DAX retreated 0.1pc. Greece's ASE Index lost 2.1pc after Russell Investments reclassified the country as an emerging market.