IBEC SURVEY SHOWS WEAKENING BUSINESS SENTIMENT AMONG IRISH FIRMS - Business sentiment among Irish manufacturing and services companies continues to weaken according to the latest survey from the business group, IBEC. The overall confidence index came it at -19 for the third quarter, down marginally on the -18 recorded in the previous three months. Expectations around exports also fell in the third quarter, recovering only marginally on the level recorded in second quarter.

Fergal O'Brien, chief economist with IBEC, points out that the outlook for exports still remains positive but it has slowed considerably over the past six months. He says that the domestic economy is ''bobbing along the bottom''. ''Confidence remains weak and many businesses are still operating in difficult conditions,'' he states. The business group has expressed particular concern about the hiring intentions of industry, which it says has reduced considerably. ''We think budget kite flying around PRSI and sick pay proposals are making companies less likely to recruit staff. Over the last three budgets, the Government has put €700m in additional costs on labour. That has resulted in 20,000 fewer jobs,'' Mr O'Brien says. ''The single most damaging thing the government could do is add to those costs,' he cautions.


MORNING BUSINESS NEWS - Danske Bank - the parent group of NIB - has announced pre-tax profits of €847m for the first nine months of the year. NIB itself reported an operating loss of €8m. It set aside €578m for loan impairment charges, down 9% on the same period last year.

*** Swiss Bank UBS is to cut about 10,000 jobs. It said it hopes to save nearly €3 billion annually between now and the end of 2015 by cutting back on its trading business. UBS has a funds services office in Dublin but it is not known if it will be affected.

*** Apple chief executive Tim Cook has announced that he is replacing the heads of its software and retail units. It follows the much derided launch of the new Apple mapping programme and unpopular store-related decisions. Software chief Scott Forstall will leave Apple next year. He will serve as an advisor to Cook in the meantime - a fall from grace for one who had been tipped to take the top job at Apple. A search is also underway for a new retail chief to replace John Browett. He made a few enemies inside the company when he decided to reduce the number of retail employees.