Opening Bell: Pay rise expectations, housing activity climbs, Theresa May's Dublin visit

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Two in five Irish workers are expecting an increase in pay this year, according to Bank of Ireland's latest Economic Pulse survey.

This closely mirrors the sentiment among businesses, with 37% of firms planning to increase basic pay over the next 12 months.

Consumer confidence is up this month, with households greeting the new year with a better outlook of both their personal finances and the economy.

One in four people reported that they are likely to buy a car.

Despite this more positive picture, the bank stated that the results were "unlikely to provide much comfort" to businesses due to worries over an upcoming hard Brexit and Trump's protectionist policies in the US.

Business sentiment remained more or less unchanged, but ambition dipped slightly.

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House building activity climbed over 30% last year, according to new figures from the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).

Constructions tarted on 5,626 residential units in 2016, up 31% on the year previous. Some 3,223 of these were in Dublin.

CIF director general Tom Parlon said that all measures of house building activity and housing output show "a strengthening trend" but warned that the planning enviroment and access to development finance will continue to be critical factors" in the sector.

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Staff at Kerry Group plants in Charleville County Cork are taking industrial action today.

SIPTU says the one-day stoppage is due to the refusal of management to attend talks at the Workplace Relations Commission.

The union says the dispute surrounds proposed changes to workers' terms and conditions of employment.

Staff at Kerry Group plants in Charleville County Cork are taking industrial action today.

SIPTU says the one-day stoppage is due to the refusal of management to attend talks at the Workplace RelationsCommission.

The union says the dispute surrounds proposed changes to workers' terms and conditions of employment.

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny will discuss Brexit with British Prime Minister Theresa May when she visits Dublin later today. 

The crisis and upcoming election in Northern Ireland will also be on the agenda, as well as US President Donald Trump's immigration clampdown.

May's plans for a so-called 'hard Brexit' poses major difficulties in an attempt to keep an open border with Northern Ireland.

Today's meeting will be the second since Theresa May took office six months ago and the first visit to Dublin by a British prime minister in nearly six years.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Financial Services will promote Dublin as the most suitable city for the relocation of the European Banking Authority today.

The EU institution is currently based in London's Canary Wharf.

Eoghan Murphy is in London to meet with key stakeholders from the financial world.

He'll promote the Government's case that relocating the EBA to Dublin would be the least disruptive – and therefore safest – move.