SHARES RECOVERED from a poor start, encouraged by a strong New York opening. Early trading was weighed down by the Russian devaluation and Japan's continuing weakness, but after lunch prices perked up and at one time Footsie was up 30.9 points, but then closing 12.2 higher at 5,467.2.
National Power gained 30p to 553p on talk that Nomura, the Japanese investment house, is trying to put together an pounds 8.5bn consortium to bid and then split the company into four.
STOCKS MADE fragile gains in early trading in New York amid speculation that prices already reflected the economic turmoil in Russia and Asia, but the markets were also twitchy ahead of President Clinton's testimony about the Monica Lewinsky affair.
The Dow was up 0.5 per cent by the London close.
The dollar saw earlier five-week highs at above 1.81 marks evaporate as traders reassessed worries over Germany's exposure to Russia.
JAPAN'S BENCHMARK Nikkei index fell below the 15,000 level for the first time in two months on worries that Asia's weakened economies would stunt global growth. The Nikkei 225 average ended down 2.18 per cent at 14,794.7. Sony led decliners.
The yen steadied in London after a senior Tokyo official said its depreciation was nearing an end and Japan would intervene when the time was right. The dollar/yen dipped below 146, but by late trading stood at 145.75/85.
GERMAN SHARES recouped earlier losses, with the benchmark Dax index ending up 8.68 points at 5,456.6 after Russia devalued the rouble and imposed a 90-day debt moratorium. The electronically traded Xetra Dax closed down 0.75 per cent at 5,432.
"Russia is obviously making people very nervous. The German banks are the biggest creditors," said one dealer. Shares in Dresdner Bank dropped 1.5 per cent.