SKILLNETS TRAINING MORE AND FOR LONGER - Skillnets, the national training agency, says it trained 10% more people last year than it did in 2012, and spent much more time doing so. In its annual report Skillnets said it beat its targets for the year and that its total spend over the year was €23.9m, including a €10.9m contribution from companies.

Alan Nuzum, chief executive of Skillnets, says that the increase in its numbers is down to companies being prepared to invest more in staff training. Mr Nuzum says that while funding is always a challenge, the level of funding has remained the same in 2010, 2011 and 2012. But he says that Skillnets is now doing more with the same amount of money over the last three years. The agency is also increasing its investment in jobseekers, with over 1,000 more in training last year than in 2011. The Skillnets CEO says it is no surprise that industry sectors doing well are export focussed - ICT, life sciences, pharmaceutical, food, agribusiness, green businesses and certain parts of manufacturing. He that the agency operates through 56 networks of companies, working in different areas of industry. Denying that Skillnets is simply training people to emigrate, Mr Nuzum adds that a new report has shown a 97-98% retention rate of those trained with Skillnet.


MORNING BRIEFS - New figures show that the German discounters Aldi and Lidl have again seen their share of the multi-billion euro Irish grocery market grow. Kantar Worldpanel figures show that the rival chains now have a combined 13.8% share of the grocery market here, compared to an 11.8% share a year earlier. The latest figures - for the 12 weeks to June 9 - show that Tesco's position as the country's biggest grocery retailer took another hit in the 12 weeks. Its market share fell almost one percentage point to 27.7%. Dunnes Stores - which is the second biggest operator - saw its share dip to 21.9% from 22.4% a year earlier. Musgrave-controlled SuperValu maintained its 19.7% share, while Superquinn, which Musgrave also owns, held on to its 5.5% share.

*** When it comes to the markets we know about bulls and bears; and even doves and hawks, but since yesterday we have "feral hogs" to deal with, as a top US Central Banker warned these "feral hogs" of financial markets against trying to force the Federal Reserve to shelve plans to slow its bond buying. This comes as yields on US Treasuries climbed to their highest level since August 2011. Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve, said in an interview with the Financial Times that the Fed had anticipated a lively market reaction to last week's announcement that it was considering bringing an end to its bond purchases. He said he believed that big money organises itself somewhat like feral hogs. If they detect a weakness or a bad scent, they'll go after it.

*** Another Financial Times piece says Anglo Irish appears to have bluffed a nation - saying that some of the Anglo tapes' conversations we heard yesterday give flawed human context to cold numbers. It says the tapes show that even as it teetered on the brink, Anglo Irish appears to have gone on bluffing a nation to which it had doled out so much of the finance needed to pump up property prices.