IRISH shares continued to struggle yesterday, as losses by a pharmaceuticals group and the financials weighed on the market.
For the day, the ISEQ index lost 0.67pc, or 18.31 points, to close at 2,694.77 on light trading.
"This is usually a time when volume is low so, in this environment, it doesn't take much to move the market, and we saw that today," said one broker.
ICON was one of the big losers on the day, closing down 5.44pc at €13.90 as the Irish market continued to catch up with the US, where the pharmaceutical's stock has fallen nearly 10pc in a week after lacklustre results.
Financial stocks also remained out of favour, following a trend across Europe. Allied Irish Banks fell 3.89pc to 37c, while Bank of Ireland slipped 2.17pc to 59c. Irish Life & Permanent slipped 3.15pc, closing at €1.54.
Oil and gas explorer Providence Resources stumbled, losing 4.47pc in light trading after the company announced it had been granted a licence off Northern Ireland.
Winners on the day were few and far between, but Dragon Oil rebounded from yesterday's losses to climb 2.70pc to €4.90.
Fruit company Fyffes climbed 1.59pc to 32c, while mining company Ovoca Gold soared 11pc to 38c as the price of gold rose.
Results around Europe mirrored the day Ireland had. National benchmark indexes retreated in 15 of the 17 western European markets that were open.
The UK's FTSE 100 Index lost 0.8pc and France's CAC 40 Index dropped 0.5pc. Germany's DAX Index retreated 0.4pc. The composite Stoxx 600 lost 0.1pc.
The losses were blamed in part on weaker-than-expected results from the Swiss bank UBS and the steel giant ArcelorMittal, which forecast a decline in earnings.
"There are tougher times ahead for the banks," Lothar Mentel, chief investment officer at Octopus Investments. "I wouldn't put my very long-term money in the banks. They will have to work very hard to keep up with the rest."
UBS tumbled 5pc after Switzerland's biggest bank reported a quarter-on-quarter drop in revenue from much of its trading operations.
ArcelorMittal also slumped 5pc after its forecast earnings missed analyst's estimates.
In London, the FTSE was driven down as declines in ARM Holdings and Cairn Energy overshadowed faster-than-estimated economic growth.
ARM, the designer of semiconductors that power Apple's iPhone, slumped 5.9pc after saying operating costs rose.
Cairn Energy tumbled the most in 19 months after writing off the cost of two exploration wells near Greenland. WS Atkins, the UK's biggest engineering-design company, sank 2.2pc after Royal Bank of Scotland downgraded the shares.