Longest losing streak since January
IRISH shares were little changed yesterday as gains in the two banks and Ryanair erased declines in companies such as Petroceltic, Icon and Worldspread.
The ISEQ Overall index closed down less than a point at 2819.76, pushing the benchmark down for a fifth day, the longest losing streak since mid January.
National benchmarks declined in 15 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 slid 0.4pc, France's CAC 40 tumbled 1pc and Germany's DAX dropped 0.9pc.
Bank of Ireland was the biggest gainer in Dublin, adding 5.9pc to close at 70c after Moody's said the bank will probably pass European banking stress tests.
Ryanair was another winner, climbing 1.4pc to €3.83 after the airline said net profit rose by 1pc to €138.5m in the previous quarter excluding the €50m cost of 10,000 flights cancelled due to the Icelandic volcano.
Things were less rosy for Petroceltic International which tumbled 10.6pc after the oil company asked Italy's Ministry of Economic Development to suspend an exploration permit.
Clinical testing company Icon slipped 8.8pc to €20.65 following the company's annual shareholder meeting while financial spread betting company Worldspreads slid 6.4pc to 88c.
Kingspan closed down 5pc to €5.29 as analysts at Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to "underperform" from "neutral"
Shares elsewhere in Europe fared little better as investors gauged the strength of the economic recovery after Hungary raised less than planned in a debt sale and a report showed US housing starts fell last month.
Cable & Wireless slumped 16pc after saying profit will be at the lower end of forecasts. Daimler retreated 2.9pc as Morgan Stanley rated the stock "underweight." Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton led a rally in mining shares.
The markets were also spooked by Hungary's failure to raise as much as it wanted in a bond auction yesterday.
Computer companies IBM and Texas Instruments reported sales that missed forecasts and Johnson & Johnson lowered its forecast for the current fiscal year. Goldman Sachs was another blue chip to disappoint, reporting second-quarter revenue of $8.84bn, missing analysts' estimates of $8.94bn.
Nokia jumped 3pc euros after the Wall Street Journal reported the company is looking to replace chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo.
Luxury handbag maker Hermes International raised its 2010 sales growth target to between 10pc and 12pc from a previous forecast of at least 5pc. The shares climbed 3.6pc.
Husqvarna, the world's largest garden power-equipment company, surged 9pc after beating analysts' profit estimates.