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The Independent Online

LEADING SHARES enjoyed some sharp gains; Footsie ended near its day's high with a 59.6 points gain to 5,772. But it was a market of two halves as many second and third-line shares continued their ragged retreat from their recent peaks.

Telephone shares led the blue-chip charge; BT, in busy trading, surged 37p to 741p (after 755p) as rumours continued to circulate that an alliance, perhaps even a full-scale merger, was being lined up with the American AT&T group.


Wall Street ended higher as computer stocks raced ahead on belief that the worst could be over for Asia as Japan prepares to tackle its ailing economy in a more effective way. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 117.33 points, or 1.35 per cent, at 8828.46. Alfred Kugel, investment strategist at Stein Roe & Farnham, said: "The warnings on second quarter earnings don't look as serious as people thought, so some of the fear is lifting."


THE JAPANESE stock market fell yesterday, hit by a wave of scepticism over the Tokyo government's promises of a plan to kick-start the country's ailing economy.

The Nikkei 225 index fell 254.49 points, or 1.66 per cent, to 15,054.60.

The broader Topix index was down 1 per cent to 1175.42.

Construction and real estate companies led the fall on the back of concerns over flagging domestic demand.


FRENCH STOCKS, led by chip maker ST Microelectronics and food retailer Promodes, firmed as investors focused on companies set to benefit from Europe's economic recovery.

The benchmark CAC 40 index rose 46.40 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 4,065.04, partly erasing its 1.8 per cent fall over three sessions. Promodes, France's second-biggest food retailer, rose Fr144 (4.6 per cent) to a record Fr3,275 ahead of tomorrow's consumer spending figures.


RUSSIAN STOCKS closed little changed as dealers remained on the sidelines amid worry that the government's economic stimulus package will not be enough to win a $15bn bailout package from the International Monetary Fund. The benchmark Russian Trading System index rose to 172.61 from 172.37.

The government package, presented to parliament yesterday by President Boris Yeltsin, includes spending cuts and a pledge to increase tax revenue.