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Irish shares buoyant despite unrest

IRISH shares rose, outperfoming shares elsewhere in Europe which were weighed down by fears about the future of Egypt as gunfire was heard on the streets of Cairo for a second night and crowds of men loyal to President Hosni Mubarak clashed with protesters.

The ISEQ advanced 34.58 points, or 1.2pc, to 2,937 points, led by the advance of heavyweights such as CRH, Elan, Bank of Ireland and Dragon Oil.

Aminex posted the biggest gain in Dublin yesterday, rising 8.7pc to 11c -- a day after the oil and gas company said it has agreed to raise £20m in a share sale and has proposed an open offer to raise up to £6m.

Bank of Ireland was another big gainer, jumping 6.4pc to 36.5c, while Dragon rose 2.1pc to €6.74 on hopes higher oil prices will boost profit.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index was little changed, gaining 0.1pc by the close in London. More than five stocks dropped for every four stocks that increased. National benchmark indexes fell in 13 out of the 18 western European markets. Germany's DAX Index added 0.1pc, while the UK's FTSE 100 Index slid 0.3pc. France's CAC 40 Index sank 0.7pc.

Royal Dutch Shell sank 3pc after saying earnings from its refining division remained "under pressure" last quarter.


Oil giant Total lost 1pc as a venture in Yemen said that production continued at full capacity even as protesters held a 'Day of Rage' against the country's president.

TeliaSonera jumped 3pc after posting fourth-quarter net income that climbed as demand increased.

"We're in a consolidation mood," said Andreas Lipkow, an equity trader at MWB Fairtrade Wertpapierhandelsbank in Frankfurt. "One problem is Egypt as investors thought tensions were going to be solved quickly, but they're worsening. There's speculation it might spread to other regions."

In the US, applications for jobless benefits decreased by 42,000 to 415,000 in the last week of January, Labour Department figures showed yesterday.

A purchasing managers' index report yesterday showed Europe's service and manufacturing industries expanded at a faster pace than expected in January, led by surging output growth in Germany and France.

Deutsche Bank climbed 1.5pc as Germany's biggest bank said higher revenue from fixed-income and equities trading lifted fourth-quarter earnings at its investment bank.

GlaxoSmithKline jumped 3.6pc after announcing that it will repurchase as much as £2bn in stock this year.

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