Around the World's Markets

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The Independent Online
LONDON

SHARES endured a difficult session with Footsie falling 73.6 points to 5,736.1. Futures activity and a sell-off in New York were largely responsible, along with Far East and interest-rate uncertainties.

Blue chips, particularly those with transatlantic links, were the hardest hit, with second and third line shares for once holding up well. National Westminster Bank bucked the trend: with interim profits ahead of expectations the shares jumped 107p to 1,146p.

Derek Pain, page 19

NEW YORK

US STOCKS fell steeply as selling momentum snowballed amid concern about the White House sex scandal and that Japan might not do enough to boost the yen.

The Dow fell 224 points to 8,562.8, its lowest since June, before fighting back to 8,656.2 in the late afternoon. The Nasdaq index was hit even harder, falling by 2.7 per cent to 1,801. Trading was unpredictable - in the morning blue-chip stocks had gained almost 70 points.

TOKYO

STOCKS closed lower, with the benchmark Nikkei ending down 141.5 points at 16,023.6 as a late afternoon fall in the yen sapped sentiment. The volatile dollar-yen rate has come to be seen as a barometer of confidence in Japan.

In later trading the dollar was lower after the Minister of Finance, Kiichi Miyazawa, said he could not rule out intervention. The dollar fell to lows of 144.22 yen by late morning, although dealers speculated that the dollar's decline may prove short-lived.

PARIS

PARIS shares shed over 1 per cent as the latest yen worries and Wall Street's decline weighed on a market diminished by thin summer volumes.

The blue-chip CAC 40 closed down 47.2 points at 4,047.9. The CAC made solid gains until Wall Street opened, boosted by the engineering group Alsthom; news of a Ffr21bn Australian contract for a high-speed rail link between Sydney and Canberra boosted Alsthom's price by more than 4 per cent.

FRANKFURT

SHARES closed lower in late Xetra trading in a lacklustre market that followed Wall Street's weak opening. The Xetra DAX closed at 5,718.70, down 37.50 from the day's floor close and 55.68 down on yesterday's close. The DAX closed 2.57 down at 5,756.2. Some stocks rebounded from early falls, but fell again as New York opened lower.

BASF shares fell after its warning that growth would slow in the second half overshadowed a 14 per cent rise in profits.

BASF drug unit plans, page 17

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