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Euro markets stall as US fails to advance deal on 'fiscal cliff'

Nervous chatter in the US that efforts to hammer out a solution to the rapidly appro-aching fiscal cliff are souring did little to help European bourses yesterday.

They delivered a largely mixed outcome, even if some major indices managed to emerge into the black as the session ended.

While shortly after US President Obama's election victory it appeared that Democrats and Republicans might actually manage to deliver a workable outcome to the fiscal cliff, mixed messages in the past few days have continued to fuel uncertainty.

Political battle

The fiscal cliff is clearly a pure political battle," said Giordano Lombardo, who helps manage about $203bn (€157.4bn) as chief investment officer at Pioneer Investments.

"The consensus seems to be that there will be an eleventh-hour agreement. This leaves very little space for disappointment in the market."

Fresh economic data pointed to continued uncertainty in the world's biggest economy as new house sales fell 0.3pc in October.

In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index trended steadily upwards from the morning, aside from a dip around lunchtime as US markets opened. It ended the day 9.28 points, or just 0.28pc, higher at 3,266.73.

There were a number of notable movers. Packaging group Smurfit Kappa added 2.2pc, or 19.6 cent, to finish at €9.06. Bank of Ireland added 4.8pc to close at 10.8 cent, while in the UK food group Greencore advanced 2.2pc to just under 93p.

Shares in food group Glanbia closed down just 0.7pc at €7.96 as about 5,000 farmers voted to reduce the co-op stake in the plc by 10 percentage points to 41pc.

Kenmare Resources fell 7.2pc, or three cent, to 38.4 cent after it said it's likely to mine 10pc less ilmenite and zircon from its facility in Mozambique this year.

Total Produce shed 4.2pc to 49 cent, while Donegal Creameries lost 2.8pc to €3.40.

National benchmark indices retreated in 10 of the 18 western-European markets. France's CAC 40 Index gained 0.4pc, while the UK's FTSE 100 added 0.1pc. Germany's DAX advanced 0.2pc.

Celesio retreated 3.2pc to €12.87 after Haniel sold €100m of stock in the drug wholesaler. The closely-held German investment company sold about 7.9 million shares at €12.60 apiece.

Metro declined 3.5pc to €21.37 as Haniel said it will reduce its stake in Germany's largest retailer to 30pc from 34.2pc within 18 months.

Nestle climbed 1.2pc to 60.60 Swiss francs after forming a joint venture with Hutchison China Meditech.

Nokia lost 1.3pc to €2.53.

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