Opening Bell: CRH chief's €8m bonus package, Amazon's shock profit, Ireland's retail sales shock

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CRH chief executive Albert Manifold has defended his pay packet after 40% of the company's shareholders voted against a plan to allow him to make annual bonuses of more than €8m.

The motion, which was passed, will enable Mr Manifld to earn a maximum bonus of 225% of his basic salary, and a share plan of up to 365% in the coming years.

He told representatives of the media that he recognises that he is "well paid," but added that his pay packet is in-line with industry standards.

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Amazon has shocked markets by delievering a higher-than-expected profit for its first quarter as its sales increased by 28%.

The company's net income grew to $513m as its revenue swelled to $29.13bn - up from $22.72bn 12 months ago.

Shares enjoyed an initial 10% bounce after the results were published.

This is the fourth quarter in a row in which the company has posted a profit, historically investment in a broad range of ambitious projects has hit its bottom line.

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Pressure to save to meet Central Bank deposit requirements has been blamed for disappointing retail figures on Ireland's high streets in March.

A surprise fall in consumption was recorded in March as headline retail sales dipped by 2.1%.

Big-ticket items like cars, electronics and spending in department stores all suffered.

These figures come as the economy continues to expand, and consumer confidence has been improving.

Property firm Savills' director of research, John McCartney says that this is one of the impacts of Ireland's new mortgage deposit rules:

"The lacklustre figures may reflect the fact that Irish households are continuing to pay down debt - outstanding bank loans were reduced by more than €3.5bn in the year to February.

"Also, families are saving more as first-time buyers and their parents put money away to fund the larger deposits that are now needed for home purchase," he said.

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Luas drivers are braced for a 10% pay cut, after a decision to continue with their strike over pay.

The tram operator Transdev warned staff that if a work-to-rule went beyond 4am this morning they would reduce workers pay.

The union representing Luas workers, SIPTU, met with drivers last night to discuss the matter, but they refuse to join their colleagues who've accepted a wage hike of 13% and say they won't be 'humiliated'.

SIPTU believes a pay cut by Transdev would be in breach of 'The Payment of Wages Act.'