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ISEQ little changed as light trading rounds off week

IRISH shares were little changed yesterday, as traders rounded the week off with a quiet day's trading.

By the end of the day, the ISEQ Overall Index was up 0.01pc, or 0.27 points at 2,965.12. That meant the index posted a small gain on the week, having opened on Monday at 2,942.04.

There was little movement on the index for most of the day, although early buying pushed the benchmark as high as 2,992, before an afternoon sell-off brought it closer to home.

Kenmare Resources led the market, gaining 11.76pc to close at 57c. The titanium miner was named by analysts at Bernstein as a possible takeover target, with Chinese companies said to be the obvious partner.

Recruiter CPL Resources added 3.39pc following good results from the sector.

Higher oil prices -- hitting $125 in London, a level unseen since August 2008 -- ensured oil and gas explorers had another strong day. Providence Resources climbed 3.33pc to €3.10 while Tullow Oil added 0.54pc, albeit on light trading.

On a day when few stocks made significant moves, the banks were little changed, although Allied Irish Banks fell 6.35pc to 28c. Irish Life & Permanent and Bank of Ireland closed flat.

The higher oil prices also hit the airlines, with the prospect of rising fuel costs keeping dealers away. Aer Lingus fell 1.08pc while Ryanair dropped 1.33pc.

Elsewhere, European stocks rose, extending the Stoxx Europe 600 Index's third straight week of gains.

National benchmark indexes climbed in 14 out of 18 western European markets today. The UK's FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 gained 0.8pc and Germany's DAX rose 0.5pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.3pc.

BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, gained 2.7pc, while Rio Tinto, the third- biggest, climbed 3.2pc. Fresnillo, the world's largest primary silver producer, soared 2.4pc. Basic-resource shares were the best performers in the Stoxx 600, as copper, lead, nickel, tin and zinc advanced.

In London, Scottish & Southern rose 2.3pc. The company's profits will probably increase as ageing UK coal- and gas-fired power plants close, driving up retail power prices, according to Credit Suisse.

Games Workshop Group jumped 13pc after the maker of the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop battle game said pretax profit will probably exceed analysts' estimates. The company also declared a 20 pence dividend.

ICAP, the interdealer broker, sank 3.9pc. The stock was cut to "underperform" from "neutral" at Credit Suisse.

Irish Independent