Opening Bell: AIB in "good shape" for an IPO, Iran to flood oil markets, European officials push for stimulus measures

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AIB is in "good shape" for an IPO in spite of the recent turmoil on global markets, according to its chief executive Bernard Byrne.

“We’ve carried out a couple of roadshows in New York and London already this year and the appetite is still very strong for the Irish [recovery] story and for the AIB story,” he told The Irish Times.

“We’ll make sure we keep our finger on the pulse in terms of investor appetite,” he said, adding that this decision will ultimately be made by the Irish Government as the State owns 99.8% of the bank.

Finance Minister, Michael Noonan has indicated that Fine Gael will be ready to proceed with the IPO if it returns to power after the coming General Election.

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Oil markets weakened again overnight under fears that Iran in planning to increase production, adding to the current supply glut.

After UN inspections of Iranian nuclear sites, a series of trade sanctions are due to be lifted on Monday.

If this happens Iran has pledged to begin pumping half a million extra barrels of oil per day within one week.

Brent Crude oil already hit a 12-year low of $29.93 earlier in this week, before recovering to above $30pb.

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Details of the Eurogroup's December meeting show that some of the region's policy makers pushed for the ECB to take greater measures to stimulate Europe's lagging economy.

Ultimately the meeting voted to introduce modest increases in the bank's stimulus efforts.

Markets had expected a larger stimulus kick than that which was agreed to.

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Intel’s share price fell nearly 5% to $31 in after hour’s trading in New York last night despite fourth quarter earnings of $3.6bn which beat most market expectations.

Of concern to investors was confirmation by the company of even lower than expected sales of microchips for the servers that run the world’s data centers.

Data Centre revenue amounted to $4.3bn in the three months to December, lower than expectations, as companies delay upgrading their own data centers and transfer to 3rd party operated cloud-based servers.

Intel, which employs about 4,500 people in Ireland, has been transitioning from its traditional core activity of supplying chips for personal computers to data centers and Internet of Things sectors.

Global personal computer shipments fell by nearly 11% during the three months to December. The group recorded overall revenues of $14.9bn for the quarter.