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Shares soar as EU deal nears

IRISH shares surged yesterday, as news that a deal may be afoot in Europe to somehow contain the crisis, as well as Italian austerity, were welcomed by the market.

By the close of trading the ISEQ Overall Index had climbed 1.49pc, or 43.29 points, to reach 2,763.88.

The market was boosted by news that German leader Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy wanted a new treaty that would mandate deeper EU integration while Italy agreed measures that would take €26bn off the country's national debt.

The session was also marked by Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin's statement on day one of the Budget.

Independent News & Media was the leading stock on the day, closing some 9.89pc higher at 23c. APN News & Media, the Australasian media company part owned by INM, released a broadly positive trading statement.

Commodity companies had a very strong day, with Aminex (up 9.14pc), Ormonde Mining (up 9.13pc) and Kenmare Resources (up 7.38pc) all making positive moves.

Ryanair soared 4.03pc to 3.82pc after it announced its first capacity cuts in its history, although load factor remained steady. On the other side of the board, Greencore had a particularly rough day. The ready meals maker slumped 10.28pc to 64c after it announced potential takeover talks for the company had ended. Greencore announce full year results this morning.

Elsewhere national benchmark indices climbed in every western European market. France's CAC 40 Index advanced 1.2pc and the UK's FTSE 100 Index rose 0.3pc. Germany's DAX Index increased 0.4pc while the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.8pc.

"If the eurozone holds together -- as we suspect it will -- there should be considerable upside for stocks," said Ian Scott, chief global strategist at Nomura. "More than a recession is already in the price."

A gauge of European banks advanced 2.5pc. UniCredit, Italy's biggest lender, jumped 5.4pc, Intesa Sanpaolo added 3.9pc and BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, rose 4.9pc.

Banco Santander gained 2.5pc after Spain's biggest lender said it would seek to raise €1.97bn by swapping preferred shares sold to retail customers in 2009 for newly issued stock as part of a strategy to increase its capital.

Aberdeen Asset Management climbed 3.8pc as full-year profit surged after revenue rose faster than costs and it sold more higher-margin products.

SAP slipped 2.5pc. The German software maker agreed to buy California-based SuccessFactors on Saturday to better meet demand for new technologies such as cloud computing, real-time analytics and mobile applications.

Irish Independent