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Irish shares buck trend to soar above 3,000 barrier

IRISH shares surged back yesterday, ending the week above the 3,000 barrier as a host of strong company data buoyed the market.

On the day, the ISEQ closed up 1.36pc to close at 3,005.39. It was the fifth day of gains out of the last six, and ensured that the index gained a shade over 1pc on the week, having opened on Monday at 2,972.07.

Providence Resources was one of the big winners, gaining more than 8.39pc to close at €3.36 after an independent report suggested production could begin at one of its discoveries in as little as two years' time.

It was another day of big gains for Kenmare Resources, which surged 13.95pc to 49c after the Mozambique government said it had set a deadline of next month for tenders for a heavy sands project.


CRH was perhaps the stock that guaranteed a big gain when it rose 3.85pc to top €17 for the first time since June. Anglo-American and Lafarge are to combine their cements businesses in a deal worth $2.9bn (€2.11bn).

The financials had a mixed day with Allied Irish Banks rising 2.55pc to 28c after the sale of its Polish Bank Zachodni WBK was confirmed by regulatory authorities, and Bank of Ireland added 1.32pc to 38c after the lender claimed deposits had stabilised. Irish Life & Permanent, however, slumped on the back of poor trading data, closing down 4.15pc at 90c.

Ireland bucked the trend around the continent, as European stocks slipped after China raised the reserve requirement ratio for domestic lenders, draining cash from the financial system.

National benchmark indexes declined in eight of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE fell 0.1pc, while Germany's DAX added 0.3pc and France's CAC 40 gained 0.1pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 lost 0.1pc.

"This is just the start from China and they will continue tightening lending and raising interest rates," Philippe Gijsels, the Brussels-based head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets, said. "If the Chinese start to take out the liquidity that's been so important, it's got the potential to be a disturbance for the world's stock markets."

In London, Rio Tinto, the world's third-biggest mining company, slid 2.3pc and BHP Billiton retreated 2.2pc. Reserve ratios for China's lenders will increase half a percentage point starting February 24, the People's Bank of China said.

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