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Banks all over Europe enjoy good day

IRISH shares rose, led higher by a broad range of companies ranging from Aer Lingus and DCC to Fyffes and Providence Resources.

Banks, lifted by hopes that commercial property prices won't fall any further and a general warmth towards bank stocks all over Europe, soared. Allied Irish closed up 6.6pc at 31c, while Bank of Ireland was up 6.4pc at 34c.

Irish commercial property values have fallen by 60pc since peaking in 2007 but "the rate of value decline appears to be reaching the bottom and stabilising", Jones Lang LaSalle said yesterday.

Banks elsewhere in Europe also enjoyed a good day with Barclays jumping 5.5pc after Societe Generale named it one of its preferred stocks in the European sector, which it upgraded to "overweight". HSBC put on 2.4pc after Citigroup upgraded it to "buy" from "hold".

"That's put a bit of happiness back in the market, and seems to have calmed everyone's fears for the moment, but who knows what's around the corner," Mark Priest, senior equities trader at ETX Capital, said.

DCC soared 5.6pc to €24.10 on optimism that high sales of oil, computer servers and Microsoft computer games distributed by DCC will boost profit. Providence Resources jumped 4.8pc to €3.30, a second day of gains after the oil and gas explorer said a planned gas storage facility off Dublin was "viable".

Aer Lingus soared 4.1pc to €1.09 as Ryanair sued Britain's antitrust regulator over claims it is wrongfully investigating the airline's purchase of a minority stake in Aer Lingus.

Kerry was almost unchanged at €26.55 after the company was raised to "buy" from "add" at Evolution Securities by equity analyst Alex Sloane.

Fyffes closed up 2.6pc at 39c after it said it expects adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation for 2010 to be in the range of €19m to €20m, compared with the €14m to €18m previously indicated.

National benchmark indexes climbed in all 18 western European markets. The FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX increased 1pc and 1.2pc respectively, while France's CAC 40 gained 1.6pc. Portugal's PSI-20 Index rallied 2.4pc, rebounding from a four-day slide.

Energy stocks were in demand, following crude prices higher, with BP advancing 2.8pc. In London, ARM Holdings topped the blue-chip leader board, adding 7pc, with traders citing rehashed bid talk.

Smith & Nephew was the biggest FTSE 100 faller, off 5.9pc after the maker of replacement knees and hips hit a record high on Monday on a report it received a bid from Johnson & Johnson.

Marks & Spencer also fell 2.8pc. Arden Partners analyst Nick Bubb said he was "underwhelmed, but not downhearted" about M&S's numbers, keeping a "buy" rating on the stock.

Irish Independent