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Around the World's Markets: Paris

THE PARIS bourse out-performed other European markets following BNP's audacious bid for rival French banks Paribas and Societe Generale. Shares in BNP, Paribas and Societe Generale were all suspended yesterday, but news of the bid drove financial stocks higher. The Cac-40 ended the day marginally higher, up 2.51 points at 4,162.31.

The insurer Axa - which has stakes in all three banks - was the major gainer. Axa shares closed nearly 5 per cent higher at 121.5 euros.