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Around the World's Markets: London

THE PROPOSED pounds 48bn Zeneca/ Astra drugs merger and confident expectations that base rate will be lowered significantly today pushed blue chips higher in busy trading, although best levels were not held. Footsie, at one time up 76 points, closed with a 53.4 gain at 5,669.1. Mid cap shares were also firm but the smaller caps gave ground.

Zeneca jumped 191p to 2,711p in heavy trading but Kingfisher, the retailing chain, led blue chips with a 61p gain to 604p following its trading statement. Derek Pain, page 25