Exploration gains offset bank losses
IRISH shares inched up yesterday as gains by exploration companies helped erase declines among the banks.
The benchmark closed up 18.9 points, or 0.6pc, to 3,099.68, the highest close since October 23. Twenty stocks gained, 15 fell and 22 were unchanged.
Among the biggest gainers was Kenmare, which jumped 2.6c, or 11.1pc, to 26c after it said warrant holders had given £5m (€5.45m) to the company under a long-standing agreement. Kenmare is expected to use the money to fund exploration.
Aminex, another explorer, jumped 1.6c, or 10.4pc, to 17c after the start of a new well in southern Tanzania and an increased appetite for oil stocks. Aminex said it had been informed by Tullow, operator of the well, that drilling began on Saturday.
Dragon Oil was up 14c, or 3pc, at €4.79 as oil prices headed higher following the recent cold snap in Europe.
Ryanair closed down 5.3c, or 1.5pc, at €3.40 after the budget airline was downgraded to 'hold' from 'buy' at ABN Amro by equity analyst Andrew Lobbenberg. He set a target price of €3.50 per share.
Origin Enterprises advanced 5c, or 2.2pc, to €2.35 as it named Goodbody Stockbrokers as the food company's new broker. Firms often appoint extra brokers or change brokers ahead of major corporate actions.
Bank of Ireland pared recent gains, falling 5.6c, or 3.3pc, to €1.64. The bank said it had become a member of the Government's new bank guarantee plan.
Rival Allied Irish Banks slid 3c, or 1.8pc, to €1.62.
In London, British stocks were little changed as gains in oil producers offset a fall in shares of SABMiller, which lost out to a rival on acquiring a beer company.
BP and Cairn Energy advanced more than 2pc after Citigroup advised buying the shares. SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewer, fell 2pc as Heineken agreed to buy the beer division of Fomento Economico Mexicano.
ICAP sank 1.3pc after HSBC Holdings offered to sell shares in the world's largest broker of trades between banks at a discount.
The benchmark FTSE 100 Index rose 3.83, or less than 0.1pc, to 5,538.07.
Irish fruit company Fyffes rallied 4.5pc to 40.75p in London after saying it anticipates full-year adjusted earnings before interest and taxes to be in the region of €20m to €21m, toward the "upper end" of its target range. The shares closed unchanged in Dublin.
Elsewhere in Europe, shares declined from a 15-month high after mobile phone company Telefonica posted its biggest drop in a year.
France's CAC 40 Index dropped 0.2pc, while Germany's DAX fell 0.1pc.