Around the World's Markets: New York

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THE DOW JONES index was 16.93 higher at noon, after an erratic morning, but trading was subdued.

More merger news helped shares move higher initially but the National Association of Purchasing Managers' March index leaped to 54.3, signally increased inflationary pressures and undermining bonds and shares. The BP Amoco offer edged Arco 1/8 higher. Yahoo! and both gained sharply after Yahoo's $5.7bn offer.