IRISH shares were little changed following a lacklustre session in Dublin yesterday. Markets struggled for direction and volumes were weak as Wall Street remained closed for Martin Luther King Day.
The ISEQ closed up just 2.66 points, or less than 0.1pc, at 3,482.55 points. Among the gainers were C&C Group and CRH, while losers included Ovoca Gold and Continental Framers Group.
Banks had a good day as euro-area finance ministers met for the first time this year to address the debt crisis.
While their deliberations could have a major impact on Irish banks and pave the way for the €500bn European Stability Mechanism to buy stakes, there was no unusual movement in bank shares. Permanent TSB rose 12pc to 4.6 cents.
Allied Irish closed up 5.4pc at 8.8 cents while Bank of Ireland rose 0.7pc to 14.1 cents.
European stocks climbed to a one-week high. National benchmark indexes climbed in 14 of Europe's 18 western markets. France's CAC 40 gained 0.5pc and the UK's FTSE 100 advanced 0.4pc, while Germany's DAX increased 0.6pc. The Swiss Market Index fell 0.4pc.
UK insurer Admiral surged 5.3pc as Goldman Sachs raised its recommendation to buy from neutral and added the shares to its "conviction buy" list, citing the stock's under-performance over the past six months.
Denmark's Novozymes rallied 7pc in Copenhagen as the world's biggest maker of enzymes used in washing-machine powder reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat estimates.
PostNL, the Dutch mail service with operations in the UK, Germany and Italy, climbed 6.9pc after a hedge fund asked the company to detail plans to restore its dividend and raise its share price.
Willie Walsh's International Consolidated Airlines Group advanced 2.1pc as Credit Suisse Group upgraded the shares.
Richemont led luxury companies lower, tumbling 5.6pc for the biggest decline since June 1.
The maker of Cartier jewellery said third-quarter revenue rose 9.3pc but still missed estimates as Asia Pacific sales stagnated.
Pearson retreated 2.8pc after the owner of the ' Financial Times' newspaper lowered its profit forecast for 2012, citing tougher market conditions and significantly lower earnings at its professional education and FT Group businesses.
Sky Deutschland declined 5.4pc after the German pay-TV company forecast a wider-than-estimated annual loss and said it would sell 20.4 million new shares at €4.46 a piece.