Little change for Irish stocks
IRISH stocks were little changed yesterday, barely managing to buck the downward trend evident across much of the rest of Europe. The ISEQ Overall Index was up 0.21pc or 9.84 points to 4595.09 at the close of business.
Conroy Gold, the Irish-focused mining company, doubled in value. Its shares were up 100pc to 5c after about 55,000 shares changed hands.
Karelian Diamond also had a good day; the miner rose 19pc to 5c. Karelian recently secured a licence that should further its attempts to gain a foothold at a site just south of the Arctic circle, off the coast of Finland.
Text message game provider Zamano had a similarly good day, up 17pc to 12c, while Providence added 9pc to €3.05 and Petroneft rose 9pc to 5c.
Aer Lingus also gained, adding 6pc to close at €1.32. Merrion Stockbrokers said it was one of its stock picks for 2014.
Bank of Ireland rose 2pc to 26c after the lender was selected by Barclays as its top European banking pick for 2014. The Barclays fixed-income analysis team said that after being loss-making for five years, the Irish institution has seen a "significant improvement" in pre-provision profitability, which, combined with falling impairment losses, "could mean a positive bottom-line profit for 2014".
Ferry company IFG saw the largest percentage losses of the day, falling 3pc to €1.78. Paddy Power also slipped, shedding 2pc to €61.95. Both of the stock exchange's real estate investment trusts lost ground; Green REIT sank 1pc to €1.38 while Hibernia REIT lost 1pc to €1.17.
In Europe, stocks fell after a new report showed weakness in the services industry.
The composite Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.2pc to 326.99 by late afternoon though national benchmark indexes rose in eight of the 14 western European markets open.
The UK's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX slipped less than 0.1pc while France's CAC 40 fell 0.5pc.
In the UK, RSA jumped 6.2pc to 97.9 pence after news that a report led by PricewaterhouseCoopers, due January 9, will probably show that irregular accounting and a capital shortfall at its Irish unit were isolated incidents.