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Around the World's Markets: London

FOOTSIE, helped by hopes of lower interest rates, tried to narrow the gap that has opened with the Dow Jones Average by surging 174.4 points to 5,251.9, its highest for more than a month. There were also suggestions that recessionary talk had been overdone.

Supporting shares were strong and turnover topped 1.2 billion shares. Banks continued to recover as takeover speculation returned, but some retailers were ruffled by further indications of high street problems as consumers continued to keep their spending in check.