IRISH shares fell yesterday as a slump in some major stocks ensured a negative day's trading despite strong performances in some sectors.
On the day, the ISEQ Overall Index fell 0.56pc, or 16.08 points, to close at 2,869.84. The index fell into negative territory and remained there for most of the day with little news either way to drive the market.
CRH was the big loser on the day, dropping 4.02pc to €14.57 after poor news emerged from the US on Tuesday night.
It emerged that the gas tax there, which is usually reinvested in America's road network, may be redirected to other uses.
Those road projects have been a lucrative business for CRH which went into the red from the opening bell.
Aryzta was another major player that had a poor day, dropping 2.9pc to €33.59 amid declining sales of branded muffins at one of its US subsidiaries.
Another big loser on the day was the oil and gas explorer Petroneft which plunged 9.86pc to 78c after the firm admitted that it missed its oil production targets for 2010. The company reiterated, however, that it expects to make its production targets for this year.
Despite the overall loss, several stocks did post gains yesterday. Providence Resources stole the show, soaring 11.03pc to €3.22 on the back of the completion of drilling at a well in south England.
Elan was probably the one major stock that had a really strong day, the pharmaceuticals firm jumping 9.24pc to €4.73.
That jump, however, was described by traders as "soft". Volume on the stock was roughly double the average for the last 10 weeks and was seen to be driven by sentiment more than anything else.
Convenience foods maker Greencore continued to ride the wave generated by the deadline the Takeover Panel extended to its rival for Northern Foods on Tuesday.
It was a mixed day for the rest of western Europe. National benchmark indexes declined in 12 of the 18 markets.
France's CAC 40 lost 0.3pc, Germany's DAX fell 0.5pc, while the UK's FTSE 100 gained 0.5pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose less than 0.1pc.
"The debt crisis in the eurozone isn't over at all," said Tammo Greetfeld, senior equity strategist at UniCredit Research in Munich.
"It will remain a main burden for European equities. The signals are a bit mixed on the economic side. A lot of good news is already priced in."
In London, ARM, the designer of chips that power Apple's iPhone, surged 7.7pc, the highest price since February 2001. CSR, whose chips are used in Nokia mobiles, climbed 7.8pc.
Next climbed 4.4pc after the UK's second-biggest clothing retailer maintained its full-year earnings forecast.
The increased sales at the Directory home-shopping unit helped offset a slump in revenue at the company's stores.
HMV, however, plunged 18pc on the back of a profit warning. The company said full-year profit will be around the lower end of analyst estimates after a forecast recovery in sales at its music and DVD outlets failed to materialise.