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Trading calm ahead of Obama speech

IRISH shares were little changed yesterday, as traders took a breath ahead of US President Barack Obama's jobs speech last night.

By the close of trading, the ISEQ Overall Index was little changed, closing up 0.18pc, or 4.59 points, at 2,524.01.

The index spiked early, surging as high as 2,547 at one point before settling back to its opening level.

The market had little concrete data to provide direction, although the indication from Jean-Claude Trichet that the ECB did not plan on increasing interest rates in the near future boosted sentiment.

Commodity stocks rose, with the oil sector in particular buoyed by strong prices.

Providence Resources jumped more than 10pc after Liberum Research initiated coverage of the oil company and set a target price of 650p -- more than treble the company's current share price in London. Aminex added 4.3pc, too, after it boosted its stake in a Tanzania oil well.

Ryanair rose 1.94pc to €3.16 a day after it said it would not bid for the government's stake in Aer Lingus if it was put up for sale. Few stocks fell but the banks all slipped ,with Bank of Ireland and AIB losing 4.9pc and 4.6pc respectively.


European stocks climbed, extending the Stoxx Europe 600 Index's largest rally in three weeks, after a rally in retailers helped offset the Bank of England's (BOE) decision not to extend stimulus and concern from the ECB that economic threats had intensified.

National benchmark indices advanced in every western- European market except Greece. Germany's DAX Index gained less than 0.1pc, while the UK's FTSE 100 Index and France's CAC 40 Index both rose 0.4pc. The Stoxx Europe 600 climbed 0.7pc.

There was a glimmer of hope that the BoE might announce the commencement of a second round of quantitative easing," said London-based Angus Campbell, head of sales at Capital Spreads. "It wasn't forthcoming but the market did hold up well. Despite the major risks faced by equity markets, the recent strength can be attributed to investors building up their expectations of further stimulus packages."

In London, Morrisons gained 4.2pc after the smallest of the UK's four main supermarket chains reported a 7.8pc rise in underlying pretax profits.

Marks & Spencer, Britain's largest clothing retailer, climbed 2.6pc, extending Wednesday's 4pc advance. Press reports speculated that private equity firms including Apax Partners may make a bid for the retailer.

Admiral, the car insurer that owns the confused.com website, fell 2.4pc after the Office of Fair Trading said it would start a probe into rising UK private motor insurance premiums.

Irish Independent