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EQUITIES staged a modest rally. Footsie ended 29.4 points higher at 5,462.2 in reasonably brisk trading and the mid cap index rose 11.4 to 5,213.7. But small cap shares suffered more humiliation with the index falling 8 to 2,359.7, only 39.5 below the year's low point.

British Petroleum, following its take over of US group Amoco, failed to hold an early 28p gain, ending off 1p at 794p. Other oils weakened. Takeover hopes lifted brewer Vaux.


STOCKS rose as concern eased that slumping Asian economies would drag down US profits, giving investors enough confidence to buy battered shares. American Express and JP Morgan led the gains. By 6.50pm BST the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 76.21 at 8539.06. Meanwhile, the dollar fell from eight-year highs against the yen after Japanese finance officials suggested the government would sell dollars to prop up the yen.


TOKYO closed just a little lower thanks to the dollar falling by two yen during the morning to a low of 145.45. The yen slid to eight- year lows on Tuesday, sparking a regional - then global - share sell-off. Rhetoric from Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi helped buoy the yen, as did growing caution over possible intervention by the Bank of Japan. Although the Nikkei index closed just 0.2 per cent lower at 15,379.0, dealers said investors had too many doubts over Obuchi's new government.


PARIS stocks staged a recovery, closing up more than 2 per cent after a technical rebound in the morning was bolstered further by US markets. The benchmark CAC-40 index closed up 99.72 points at 3,945.7 in thin trading. "The rally is simply a technical reaction to recent falls," one broker warned. Shares in software company Cap Gemini led the market higher amid talk the company may buy the IT activities of the German giant Siemens.


THE KEY Dax index ended over 2 per cent firmer after falling to a three-month low on Tuesday, although it was still barely above the key 5,400 level.

An early recovery in New York helped the Dax back from below 5,400 to close at 5,402.37, while the Xetra Dax ended up 1.91 per cent at 5,386.94.

The software group SAP, which recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange, lead the gainers for most of the day, regaining all its loses from the previous day.