Dublin's ISEQ index of Irish shares closed near a record high today, boosted by a 3.5% gain in CRH shares.

The Dublin market closed at 9963, up 108 points on the day, near a record reached on 20 February, when the index passed above the 10,000 mark and closed at 9,981.

More than €1.3 billion was added to the value of Irish shares listed in Dublin today, with CRH accounting for a majority chunk of this.

CRH closed up €1.25 at €37.35 on the back of some favourable broker reports which reflect on a positive European building market, with strong prospects in the likes of Ukraine and investment opportunities in China and India.

Also a report from Davy Stockbrokers today said that news US construction spending rose for a third month in a row last month, with non-residential especially strong, is good news for CRH as the group derives 85% of its US materials sales from non-residential projects.

CRH is now a major global player in cement and small moves in its share price have the capacity to shift the Dublin market.

Other big movers today were fellow construction stock Readymix, which finished up seven cent at €2.80 and also Fyffes added five to 90 cent, with Smurfit Kappa up 40 cent at €19.25.

Investor optimism is being fuelled by recent strong profit announcements across a range of companies - for example Greencore, Eircom and Bank of Ireland - with many telling investors the good times are set to continue.