IRISH shares were little changed yesterday, as traders waited patiently for the Budget here and the chancellor's Autumn statement in the UK.
By the close in Dublin the ISEQ Overall Index had dropped 4.73 points, or 0.14pc, to close at 3,283.85.
There was little movement on the index through most of the day, despite high volumes, as dealers held their powder ahead of what promises to be another brutal Budget this afternoon.
The market closed near to its lowest point on a day when almost as many stocks dropped as climbed.
Providence Resources continued its struggles of late. The oil and gas explorer slid 3.4pc to finish at €6.15.
Insurer FBD Holdings dropped back after a good run in recent weeks. The firm slid 2.4pc to close at €10.40.
In percentage terms the big faller was Kenmare Resources, which slumped 13.1pc to 35c.
Few companies made major moves on the other side of the market. Conglomerate DCC added 1.5pc to finish at €23.60, while Bank of Ireland climbed 4.6pc to hit 12c.
Elsewhere, European stocks closed little changed, paring an earlier advance, as US lawmakers continued to debate plans to address the so-called fiscal cliff.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased less than 0.1pc. National benchmark indices gained in 11 of the 18 western European markets. France's CAC 40 advanced 0.4pc, while Germany's DAX and the UK's FTSE 100 closed little changed.
"We still anticipate a deal will be done to avoid the cliff," said Daniel Morris, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in London.
"We may go a bit over the fiscal cliff and scramble back up again but ultimately the impact, especially on the real economy, will not be significant. If you see equities sell off because of worries about the cliff, you should see that as a buying opportunity."
Tullow Oil tumbled 5.8pc, the biggest slump in more than four months, after saying it failed to find a commercial discovery at the Zaedyus-2 appraisal well off the shores of French Guiana. The well was considered more risky than usual.
United Internet retreated 8.3pc, the biggest drop in more than two years, as UBS placed 11.9 million shares in the German phone company on behalf of Warburg Pincus, the third-largest shareholder.
Electricite de France declined 2.3pc after the biggest nuclear-reactor operator raised the cost estimate of developing the EPR plant in Normandy by 42pc.
TUI Travel climbed 3.4pc after the tour operator reported full-year underlying pre-tax profit that beat the average analyst estimate. The firm increased its final dividend by 4pc.