IRISH shares rose marginally yesterday, as gains across a broad range of sectors pushed the index into positive territory for the second successive day.
By the close of trading the ISEQ Overall Index had gained 0.23pc, or 7.13 points, to close at 3,041.85.
The index appeared set for a much bigger gain for most of the session, with the index trading as high as 3,069 at one point before eventually slipping back. The close was the index's lowest point since the opening.
The banks had a strong day, as the Department of Finance's most senior civil servant outlined plans to "slim down" the major lenders.
John Moran told an Oireachtas committee that discussions were ongoing with European officials on the country's efforts to remove "low-yielding" assets from its banks.
Allied Irish Banks surged 6.2pc, while Bank of Ireland added 3.1pc.
Airlines were particularly strong after encouraging passenger data for the month of May. Aer Lingus rose 2.7pc to 95c after it said passenger numbers rose 2.4pc in May, while Ryanair gained 1.7pc to €4.06.
Elsewhere, European stocks rallied, completing their biggest two-day gain since November, after China cut interest rates.
National benchmark indices climbed in every western-European market except Portugal. The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 1.1pc. Germany's DAX rose 0.8pc and the UK's FTSE 100 gained 1.2pc. France's CAC 40 climbed 0.4pc. Austria's market was closed for a public holiday.
"We've seen the first policy response today," said Kevin Lilley, a European fund manager at Old Mutual Asset Managers in London. "Economic data has just recently deteriorated which you could argue is more likely to prompt a policy response."
A gauge of mining companies surged 2.5pc for the biggest advance on the Stoxx 600 after China's central bank cuts its benchmark interest rates. Rio Tinto increased 4pc, while Anglo American climbed 2pc. Xstrata gained 3pc.
Santander added 1.7pc in Madrid after Spain's bond auction. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria increased 1.2pc and Banco de Sabadell rose 1.6pc.
Spain sold its benchmark 10-year bond at a yield of 6.044pc, the most since November. Demand for the security was 3.29 times the amount sold, higher than at the previous auction in April.