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THE FTSE 100 index closed lower yesterday for only the second time in 11 sessions as the urge to skim off profits outweighed any overnight boost from a surging Dow.

The index closed 27.3 points or 0.4 per cent lower at 6,555.7, with the volume of shares traded raising eyebrows as it raced over the two billion mark for the first time this year. British Telecom was the most popular dish on the profit-takers menu, accounting for all but four points of the FTSE's overall decline.


STOCKS WERE mixed in late morning trading on Wednesday after profit taking took a bite out of Tuesday's record-setting gains in reaction to the Federal Reserve's rise in interest rates.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 12 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 10,920. The Nasdaq was up 20 points, or 0.61 per cent, at 3,313, a day after hitting its 11th record-high close in 13 sessions. The Standard and Poor's 500 index was up 2.41 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 1,422.


TOKYO SHARES ended modestly higher after an initial surge - powered by Wall Street strength after the US Fed tightened rates - gave way to profit-taking in high-flying technology stocks. The Nikkei 225 ended up 119.68 points at 18,274.82 points.

"It's a correction, following a boost of telecom stocks and sales in other stocks to buy telecoms," said one analyst.

The Nikkei briefly rose more than 350 points before profit taking set in.


THAI SHARES closed sharply lower yesterday, dampened by sharp falls in Bangkok Bank due to concerns about its corporate debt restructuring process. The benchmark composite SET Index retreated 13.11 points, or 3.1 per cent, to close at the day-low of 410.04 points.

Brokers said Bangkok Bank shares were heavily sold due to slow progress over the debt-restructuring deal with its main debtors.


GERMANY'S DAX lost ground yesterday, led lower by a 6 per cent fall in Mannesmann amid rumours that Vodafone might abandon a fresh bid for the group and uncertainty about terms of any potential offer.

The DAX fell 0.67 per cent to 5,870.17 points as early gains supported by the Dow's overnight performance were overturned.

"The market's taking a breather now," one trader said. "I doubt we'll see it push over 6,000 any time soon."