A round-up of today's other business stories in brief.

Investment in property to be 'flat' this year

Irish investment in commercial property will be flat this year, at just under €12 billion, according to the latest report from property consultants CB Richard Ellis.

The mid-year Irish Investment Market Bulletin said the Irish property investment spend in 2007 would match last year's record €11.9 billion despite the fact that the spend in Ireland and the UK would be less than last year.

The report points towards increased focus on property investment in the euro zone and the US, and highlights the fact that a lot of attention has been focused on Germany this year on the back of its recovering economic prospects.

Cost of renting rises by 11.9%

Residential property rents rose by 11.9 per cent last year, according to a survey by property website

Rent inflation is at its highest level since the first Daft rental report in 2002.

The average rent nationwide is now €1,382, about €150 more than this time last year, Daft said.

Cork hotel to recruit 130 staff

A luxury hotel in east Cork is hoping to recruit 130 staff in the coming weeks.

The jobs are part of a total of 150 positions being created at the hotel and golf resort in Castlemartyr by luxury hotel group Capella Hotels and Resorts.

An additional 32 jobs will be created when the resort's Ron Kirby-designed golf course is completed.

Banks to stand trial in Parmalat case

A Milan judge has ordered Citigroup, UBS, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank to stand trial for market-rigging in connection with dairy firm Parmalat's collapse, judicial sources said.

Citigroup said in a statement that the bank is "certain that the outcome of the debate will prove they had nothing to do with the allegations and that Citigroup is the injured party". Morgan Stanley said it had "conducted a complete re-examination of its dealings with Parmalat . . . and found that [ everything] had been done correctly".

Deutsche Bank and UBS have also denied any wrongdoing. Asset manager Nextra asked to plea bargain in the case last month.

Number of firms with vacancies falls

The number of firms hiring staff decreased slightly last month, the latest employment survey suggests.

The employment and vacancies survey for May, released yesterday by Fás and the Economic and Social Research Institute, shows that the percentage of firms reporting vacancies in the private sector fell by three percentage points to 13 per cent. Vacancies in construction fell four percentage points to 6 per cent, while vacancies in the services sector fell by six percentage points to 19 per cent. The number of vacancies held steady in industry and rose in retail.

Dollar hits 4½-year high against yen

The dollar hit a 4-year high against the yen and an 11-week peak against the euro yesterday as data revealed a sharp jump in US retail sales.

Retail sales climbed to their highest level in 17 months in May, rising by 1.4 per cent, well above forecasts for a 0.7 per cent increase.

Rob Carnell at ING said the figures would continue to put upward pressure on already-elevated US bond yields and would raise expectations that the Federal Reserve will increase US interest rates later this year or early next. - (Financial Times service)