'Santa rally' keeps shares climbing
IRISH shares climbed to their highest point in 18 months yesterday, as a so-called "Santa Rally" continued to sweep trading floors around the continent.
By the close in Dublin the ISEQ Overall Index had added 0.26pc, or 8.8 points, to close at 3,396.41.
That was the index's highest close since May 2011. The benchmark looked set to close above 3,400 for most of the day before a late sell-off brought it back to below that level.
Dealers were said to be buoyed by continuing optimism surrounding US budget talks, while the clearing out of trading books coming up to year-end was notable by its absence.
In percentage terms, Independent News & Media led the way, surging 60pc.
Irish Ferries owner Irish Continental Group continued its good run of late, jumping 4.28pc to close at €19.50.
Providence Resources rose 3.7pc to €6.95. The oil and gas explorer confirmed it would drill three wells next year as part of a multi-year drilling programme.
Paddy Power bounced back from its loss on Wednesday, climbing 2.9pc to €63.10.
CRH continued the momentum from the previous day, adding 1.3pc to close at €15.24.
Nearly twice as many stocks rose as fell yesterday, but Aryzta slipped back. The speciality baker lost 1.34pc to finish at €39.12.
Elsewhere, European stocks were little changed near a 19-month high as investors awaited developments in US negotiations to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic tax increases and spending cuts.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased less than 0.1pc. National benchmark indexes rose in 12 of the 18 western European markets. France's CAC 40 added 0.2pc. Germany's DAX and the UK's FTSE 100 were little changed.
"Investors won't be taking any big positions from now until year-end," said Matthieu Giuliani, a fund manager at Banque Palatine in Paris.
"As for the fiscal cliff, it's in the best interest of both parties to find a solution. It's normal that the opposition asserts its power to prolong things, but in the end they will reach an agreement."
Ericsson fell 1.9pc as the world's largest maker of mobile-phone networks took the charge for writing down the value of ST-Ericsson. The company said it won't buy a full majority of the unit after Geneva-based STMicroelectronics said it will exit the venture.
UBS slipped 1.3pc. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has started an investigation to see if there was wrongdoing by the bank in its submission of data for setting the Hong Kong Interbank Offered Rate, according to the de-facto central bank.
Accenture, the world's second largest technology-consulting company, reported a decline in first-quarter revenue from its consulting business.