Iseq in line for biggest gains since November
The Iseq overall index of Irish shares was on course to make its largest single-day gain since November on Wednesday.
The index was up a total of 2.32pc, buoyed by strong performances of some key stocks.
The Iseq stood at 6,698.52 in late afternoon, gaining 151.95 points over the course of the day.
A big winner on Wednesday was building company CRH, whose stocks rose by 4.5pc on the back of strong results for 2016, which were published earlier in the day.
Bank of Ireland shares rose by 4pc, Datalex was up 2.6pc, while Kingspan shares gained 2.6pc. Low cost-carrier Ryanair was up by 2.4pc.
Drinks group C&C fell by 1.1pc, with investors unconvinced by the company's launch of a new cider product. Recruitment firm CPL Resources was the day's other laggard with losses of 1pc.
On Wall Street, The Dow breached the 21,000 mark for the first time ever, while the S&P and the Nasdaq hit record intraday highs, as President Donald Trump's measured tone in his first speech to Congress lifted investor optimism.
Trump on Tuesday said he wanted to boost the US economy with a "massive" tax relief and make a $1 trillion effort on infrastructure, themes that have helped Wall Street scale new records since the November elections.
"Trump came off very Presidential and investors are drawing optimism from the way he delivered the message in his speech," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
"Today is just another vote of confidence in Donald Trump being able to do what he says he wants to do."
The so-called Trump trade lifted European gains once again, with Europe's basic resources index and banking index both up 2.1pc.
The STOXX defence and aerospace index hit a new 19-month high, up 0.7pc.
Also driving European markets were PMI surveys showing that eurozone factory activity rose to the fastest rate in nearly six years.
Banks across Europe gained, with Credit Suisse, Raiffeisen Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Aareal Bank and Deutsche Bank among top gainers. Deutsche shares were up 4pc and testing their highest levels in more than a year.
ArcelorMittal was also a top gainer. The steel company's board confirmed Wilbur Ross resigned after his confirmation as US Secretary of Commerce on Tuesday.
German plastics maker Covestro was down 7.8pc and headed for its worst ever day, after pharmaceuticals giant Bayer said it reduced its holding in the company from 64.2pc to 53.4pc.
Disappointing results weighed on some stocks, British hedge fund firm Man Group was among the worst-performing stocks, down 6.8pc, after a weak performance in some funds saw its fee income slide.