Flowers' speculation boosts ISEQ
IRISH shares gained, led higher by Bank of Ireland after J Christopher Flowers signaled that he is continuing to look for Irish banking assets.
The ISEQ climbed 16.21 points, or 0.6pc, to close at 2757.48 points yesterday. Bank of Ireland soared 13.4pc to 36.4 cents as Mr Flowers said he was looking at both the bank and rival Allied Irish. Shares in AIB jumped 10.2pc to 37.8 cents.
Mr Flowers said that "if we can find the right opportunity to invest in Ireland, we would like to do that". He has already tried to bid for the EBS building society.
Other shares to post gains included Dragon Oil, which jumped 6.2pc to €5.65, and IFG, which advanced 3.9pc to €1.25 a day before the budget which is due to reform the way wealthy people save for pensions.
Portuguese 10-year bond yields rose almost 13 basis points earlier to 6.22pc, before retreating to settle 2 bps up at 6.1pc, with traders citing ECB buying of the country's bonds later in the day.
Equivalent Spanish and Italian yields were up 7.6 and 6 bps respectively, while the Greek 10-year bond yielded 7.7 bps more on the day at 11.856pc.
Irish bond yields were little changed as European Central Bank purchases kept a lid on Irish yields, with the spread over bunds holding steady at 566 bps ahead of Finance Minister Brian Lenihan's budget.
"It's (ECB buying) not as aggressive today as Thursday and Friday, but they're still in the market, which is a good thing," Eamon Reilly, a trader at Davy Stockbrokers, said.
Shares elsewhere in Europe also posted gains as basic-resources and chemical shares advanced following comments by Federal Reserve chairman Ben S Bernanke who said the US central bank may expand its bond-purchase programme beyond the $600bn announced last month.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.2pc to 271.51 in London. The benchmark gauge advanced 1.6pc last week as the European Central Bank delayed its withdrawal of emergency liquidity measures and bought Portuguese and Irish government bonds.
National benchmark indices rose in nine out of 17 western European markets. Germany's DAX Index rose 0.1pc, the UK's FTSE 100 gained 0.4pc and France's CAC 40 slipped less than 0.1pc.
Hochtief paced advancing shares after the company said Qatar Holding aims to become a major shareholder in the German building giant.
Desire Petroleum plunged 49pc, the largest drop since March, after the UK energy explorer said the Rachel North well off the Falkland Islands would not produce oil.