| 2°C Dublin

Irish shares buck European trend

IRISH shares began the week on the front foot yesterday, as decent corporate data here offset poor stock performance across the continent.

By the close of trading, the ISEQ Overall Index had climbed 1.48pc, or 42.64 points, to reach 2,932.51.

The market surged from the opening bell and remained in positive territory for the rest of the session. Despite a stumble in the afternoon it recovered to close near to its intraday high.

The big winner in percentage terms was AGI Therapeutics, which surged more than 50pc amid reports the company had been sold for more than €6m.

Ryanair added more than 5pc after posting strong passenger numbers. The airline said it carried 10pc more passengers in 2011 than 2010.

There were few significant losses on the day, although Greencore slid 2.34pc to 63c.

Elsewhere, national benchmark indices declined in 14 of the 18 western European markets. Germany's DAX Index and the UK's FTSE 100 Index slipped 0.7pc. France's CAC 40 Index decreased 0.3pc, while the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.5pc.

A summit between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy failed to assuage concern over the debt crisis.

"We believe that a combination of weaker earnings numbers, a further deterioration in eurozone growth in the first quarter, and further political tensions are likely to push equities down before they recover more sustainably," a team of strategists at Goldman Sachs wrote in a report.

"There remain several issues in Europe that are likely to put upward pressure on sovereign yields over the next couple of months that are also likely to weigh on equities," they said.

Ms Merkel and Mr Sarkozy met for the first time in 2012 in Berlin to flesh out a new rulebook for fiscal discipline that seeks to create a "fiscal compact" for the 17-member eurozone.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti will also visit Berlin this week. Mr Sarkozy and Ms Merkel will both travel to Rome on January 20 for negotiations with the Italian government before the next European Union summit at the end of the month.

Germany sold six-month treasury bills at a negative yield for the first time amid demand for the debt securities of Europe's biggest economy as a haven from the sovereign-debt crisis roiling the region.

Meanwhile, Glaxo plunged 4.1pc, its biggest drop since January 2009. The drugmaker found "no statistical difference" between Relovair and its Seretide treatment, known as Advair in the US, in a 12-week study, it said in a statement. That may limit the drug's commercial potential, analysts at Credit Suisse said.

Irish Independent