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Markets: Dublin remains flat ahead of ECB meeting


David Duffy

David Duffy

David Duffy

Irish shares were little changed yesterday, as investors bided their time ahead of the European Central Bank's decision on quantitative easing tomorrow.

By the close in Dublin the ISEQ Overall Index had added 0.02pc, or 1.24 points, to close at 5,332.06.

The market looked likely to post a much higher gain, topping 5,355 at one stage before paring its gains in the afternoon.

Fyffes continued its good run, adding 3.4pc to hit €1.17.

The banks had a decent session, with Permanent TSB adding 2.2pc, while Allied Irish Banks added 0.7pc a day after it emerged that chief executive David Duffy would step down.

CRH added 1pc ahead of US president Barack Obama's State of the Union address. Analysts expect Mr Obama to announce a raft of measures to aid the US economy.

C&C continued its miserable run of late, dropping 1.9pc to hit €3.28. Aer Lingus meanwhile dipped 1.9pc to €2.37. That move put Aer Lingus below the 2.40 a share offer from IAG. Analysts still expect a winning bid from IAG may have to come in at least €2.60 a share.

Elsewhere, as has been the case this past week, European stocks advanced for a fourth day, on optimism that QE is coming.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.8pc, while national benchmark indices rose in 13 of 18 western European markets.

The UK's FTSE 100 added 0.5pc, while the French CAC 40 added 1.2pc. The Dax was little changed in Frankfurt.

"The market is very clearly expecting a significant move from the ECB," said Alex Scott of Seven Investment Management.

"As optimism builds about that stimulus package this week, it's critical for the ECB to signal that QE will continue until Europe's growth problems are solved."

Glencore added 3.9pc, Antofagasta gained 1.6pc, and Anglo-American climbed 2.9pc. Economic prospects for China - the world's biggest copper consumer - improved.

Irish Independent