Around the World's Markets: London

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SHARES FAILED to hang on to their best levels of the day. A few minutes after opening the Footsie was riding 111 points higher and looked set for a record run. But enthusiasm evaporated and by the close the index was clinging to a 14.4 gain at 5,231.5. Supporting shares made modest headway.

Irish Life and Irish Permanent were among the leading performers. Confirmation that merger talks were on lifted Irish Life 64.5p to 529.5p and Irish Permanent 105p to 882.5p.

Derek Pain, page 22