2/23/2016, 8:01 PM (Source: TeleTrader)
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Ireland: Unemployment figure rises ahead of election

The ISEQ 20 index closed down 0.95% at 1,013 points on Tuesday, after a weak afternoon session, but the small cap index rose 1.27% for the day, indicating a resilience in the small and medium enterprise.

The annual unemployment rate jumped 2.3% in the fourth quarter of 2015, as a total of 1,983,000 people were without job. Seasonally adjusted rate was 0.2% higher compared to previous quarter. On the quarterly level, the unemployment rate stood at 9.1%, just a bit down from previous quarter's rate of 9.2%. The long-term unemployment decreased from previous 5.8% to 4.7% in the year ending in the fourth quarter of 2015.

A wider national household survey by the Central Statistics Office gave the numbers of the unemployed people at 187,500, and a number of employed stood at 2,170,000, while 1,448,000 people were out of the labour force (including young and retired).

Food technology Kerry Group reported full-year profits of €603 million, up 8.5% compared to the previous year, with 6.1% higher total revenues of €6.1 billion. The company proposed quarterly dividend of €0.35, and annual reaching €0.50, which is up 11% compared to previous year.

Kerry is known for its dairy brands Cheesestrings and Dairygold, but the better part of profits comes from nutrition and taste products for flavourings and other ingredients to food, drink and pharmaceutical products. Kerry shares closed up 4.21% at €73.81.

The Dalata Hotel Group announced it has received approval from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to acquire the Clarion Hotel in Sligo. The group prepared €13.1 million to buy the hotel, after it managed the four-star facility for the past three years. The Dalata shares slid 1.54% to €4.55.

Ireland is at the last stage of a very short campaign ahead of the general election scheduled for February 26.

Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny decided to dissolve his cabinet on February 3, starting a short but fiery campaign for his Fine Gael party to ride on the wave of economic recovery seen in the last five years. Enda Kenny slammed the rivals at Fianna Fáil party for giving away sovereignty when the European Troika demanded austerity measures to prevent country's default in the wake of the financial crisis.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin ruled out the idea of a rotating Taoiseach in the next government, while Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was in odds with the media for asking too much air time to explain his centre left party's program.

Latest polls suggest the following results on the election day: ruling Fine Gael has support of 30% of the voters, Fianna Fáil follows with 20%, Sinn Féin comes third with support of 15%, and the Labour enjoys 7%. The voters, however have a decisive role, with up 28% of them saying will vote for independent candidates or other parties.

Baha Breaking News (BBN) / ZR