Flat day's trading despite early surge
IRISH stocks were little changed as the stock market started the week slowly.
With little Irish specific news to drive the market, it was a flat day's trading, with Japanese economic news the only market driving data on the day.
By the close of trading the ISEQ Overall Index was up 0.18pc, or 5.43 points, at 2,977.50.
The index surged early, passing 3,010 almost immediately after trading began, but soon fell back, although it remained in positive territory all day. The closing level was the lowest point since early in the morning.
As has been the case for the last number of months, the banks were the focus of attention for most of the day after a report from NCB Stockbrokers suggested Anglo Irish Bank's senior bondholders may not be repaid in full while Davy Stockbrokers said Irish life and Permanent's proposed merger with EBS lacked the imperative it had previously.
All three lenders on the index fell, with Allied Irish Banks dipping 2.14pc to 28c and Bank of Ireland losing 1.86pc of its value to close at 37c. IL&P closed off 2.16pc at 95c.
As well as the banks, CRH fell slightly, closing down 0.93pc at €16.53.
Those losses would normally be enough to ensure the index would close in negative territory but yesterday was an exception, as a strong performance from airline stocks helped overcome the negativity in the market.
Aer Lingus added 0.77pc to reach €1.05 despite being cut to 'add' from 'buy' by Goodbody Stockbrokers while Ryanair rose 1.52pc to €3.69pc.
Elsewhere, European stocks rose to their highest level since September 2008 as a smaller-than-estimated contraction in Japan's economy spurred speculation that the global recovery will continue. National benchmark indexes climbed in 11 of the 18 western European markets yesterday. Germany's DAX Index gained 0.3pc, while France's CAC 40 Index and the UK's FTSE 100 Index both lost 0.1pc while the Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.4pc.
"The reporting season continues its positive trend," said Ian Richards, an equity strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group in London.
Credit Suisse climbed 1.9pc after saying that it will sell CHF6bn (e4.5bn) of so-called convertible covered bonds to investors Qatar Holding and The Olayan Group.
Nokia sank 5.3pc extending the previous day's 14pc slump. Analysts recommended selling the shares after Nokia failed to forecast earnings from its partnership with Microsoft.
BASF gained 2.5pc after the world's biggest chemical company climbed after Citigroup Inc. named BASF among its most preferred shares.