Around the World's Markets

LONDON

FOOTSIE surged 103 points, its biggest gain for more than four months, to 5,832.7 on US support for the yen. Trading was brisk with gains scored over a wide front although mid-cap shares lagged.

Billiton, the South African mining group, led the charge on buyback plans but Diageo, the spirits giant, and Cadbury Schweppes were not far behind. HSBC, the banking group, rose 104p to 1,540p on hopes that Far East prospects could improve.

Derek Pain, page 21

NEW YORK

US STOCKS surged as the Federal Reserve's unexpected intervention in support of the yen brightened the earnings outlook for US exporters.

Experts said the decision by the central bank to sell dollars and buy yen marked a reversal of the "strong dollar" policy the US had tacitly advocated so far.

The move sent exporters' stocks higher and caused a 215.23-point - 2.5 per cent - jump in the Dow Jones Industrial Average to 8,880.52 at midday.

TOKYO

JAPANESE stocks closed little changed yesterday as dealers were torn between optimism over the prospect of intervention to support the yen and concerns over the banks' bad loans.

This left the benchmark Nikkei 225 index 5 points, or 0.03 per cent, lower on the day at 14,715.38. The broader Topix index was slightly higher, adding 0.37 to 1,156.84. The most heavily-traded stock was Long-Term Credit Bank, which fell to its lowest ever - 105 - before closing down 19.6 per cent at 123.

HONG KONG

HONG KONG yesterday staged its biggest rally since February as the stronger yen pushed down interest rates and eased concerns that the economy will slide deeper into recession.

The Hang Seng index rose 477.90 points - 6.4 per cent - to 8,004.35, its biggest gain since 2 February.

The rise in the yen allayed fears that the Hong Kong dollar might have to be devalued and helped interest rates down from their recent peaks.

RUSSIA

RUSSIAN stocks rose as investors said the government must have other sources of cash after it cancelled two of three debt auctions scheduled for today.

The Russian Trading System index rose 5.83 per cent to 181.99. Stocks and bonds have fallen sharply over the past month on fears the rouble would be devalued. The RTS index is down 55 per cent since 1 January, but stocks rose yesterday as the IMF said it would visit Moscow on Monday to discuss a new loan.

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