THE ISEQ Overall Index enjoyed its best performance in more than two months yesterday as shares everywhere increased amid hopes that European leaders would agree an action plan to tackle the eurozone debt crisis.
The index closed up 56.72 points, or 1.9pc, at 3087.81 as food stocks advanced. Kerry Group rose 1.8pc to €33.75 as investors bought food stocks across Europe in order to protect themselves against inflation.
Greencore, which is listed on the London stock exchange, gained 6.2pc to 72.8p as the company reported first-half results that saw sales jump 50pc, thanks to a first-time contribution from Uniq.
Glanbia was up 0.5pc to €5.85, while the drinks company C&C rose 3.4pc to €3.55 as good weather spurred hopes that cider drinking would rise.
Many other heavy hitters also rose, including the cement maker CRH, which advanced 3.9pc to €14.35 amid hopes that China would invest in construction projects.
The stock was also raised from 'underperform' to 'neutral' at Credit Suisse by the equity analyst Harry Goad.
Lafarge, the world's biggest cement maker, rose 5.3pc, while Holcim, the second-largest cement maker, gained 1.6pc. Heidelberg Cement added 4.7pc.
Shares in Aer Lingus fell 1.5pc to 97c, while Ryanair slid 0.8pc to €4.01 following a ruling by the Court of Appeal in London, paving the way for an investigation into Ryanair's 29pc shareholding in Aer Lingus.
Shares in Dragon Oil rose 2pc to €6.70 on hopes that the political situation in Turkmenistan was improving.
European stocks climbed the most in a month amid speculation that China and the euro area would do more to stimulate growth. National benchmark indices climbed in 16 of the 18 western-European markets.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 1.9pc at the close, its biggest rally since April 17. However, it has still fallen 10pc from this year's high on March 16, amid mounting concern that Greece will elect a government that is opposed to austerity.
"The rally is mostly technically driven after we became quite oversold last week," said Raimund Saxinger, a fund manager at Frankfurt-Trust Investment. He added: "The worries that we have seen, they still persist. The next thing that the markets are really focusing on is the Greek elections."
Vodafone gained 4.2pc to 172p as the company said that fourth-quarter service revenue, excluding currency swings and acquisitions, had increased by 2.3pc.
Accor surged 5.8pc to €26.03. Europe's largest hotel operator said it would sell its budget chain to a fund managed by the venture capitalist Blackstone for $1.9bn to pay down debt.