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Around the World's Markets: Frankfurt

GERMAN SHARES gained ground and the Xetra Dax climbed 46.06 to 5,058.66.

Hoechst, the chemicals group, rose 2.26 to 43.86 euros on rumours of an impending bid, and Allianz put on 7.70 to 292.70 euros after reporting a sharp rise in earnings.

However, Volkswagen shares fell steeply, falling 12.45 per cent at its worst after the company said it would be hard-pressed to exceed last year's profits. The shares rallied but closed with losses of 3.45 euros or 5.14 per cent at 63.60 euros.