Opening Bell: Irish startups, Bank of England's Brexit mistake, App Store's big New Year's Day

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The number of new Irish startups reached its highest level in almost two decades last year.

Over 20,000 new companies were registered in 2016, an 8% increase on 2015 and the biggest year of activity since 1998.

Professional services was the most popular industry, with over 4,000 firms established. The finance sector was second, with 44% more new entrants than 2015.

The number of new firms getting down to business in Dublin was up a massive 45.5%, far above second-placed Cork, which saw a 12% increase. The difference elsewhere around the country was much more marginal.

At the same time, there was a 10% decrease in insolvencies. There were 984 startups unable to pay their debts. The sectors of wholesale and retail, as well as manufacturing, were the most badly affected.

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday gave Irish retail sales a healthy pre-Christmas boost, with the latest CSO figures showing that the sector has rebounded overall.

Sales were up 0.9% in November over the previous month and, if car sales are excluded, it made for a major monthly rise of 3.1%.

From an annual perspective, sales jumped 4.3%.

The strong performance was spurred by a huge surge in the purchase of electrical goods, which climbed 17% on the month before – likely thanks to those two big sale days.

Electrical retailers also enjoyed a 13.8% improvement on their November 2015 showing.

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The Bank of England’s chief economist has admitted it was wrong to predict a dire downturn if the UK voted to leave the EU.

Andrew Haldane called it the Bank's “Michael Fish moment” – comparing it to the time the TV weatherman failed to predict a hurricane in 1987.

The Bank had issued dire warnings against a Brexit vote, with governor Mark Carney even saying the country could slip into recession.

Instead, the FTSE 100 closed on a record high for the sixth consecutive time on Thursday, the same day figures were released suggesting Britain was the fastest-growing of the advanced economies last year.

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Apple got off to a great 2017, as New Year's Day proved to be the biggest ever sales day on its App Store.

The tech giant has revealed that iPhone and iPad owners spent $240 million as they recovered from the celebrations the night before.

It came off the back of a strong year for the App Store, with developers earning over $20 billion in sales in 2016, a 40% increase.

The $3 billion in purchases recorded for December alone broke its holiday season record.

While Pokemon Go was the most popular app of 2016, Super Mario Run was most in-demand come January 1st.