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Dow to beat FTSE to multinationals index

DOW JONES, the US stock-market index provider, is set to beat its UK arch-rival FTSE International in the race to launch the world's first index of multinational companies.

The American financial information giant is believed to be preparing for a surprise debut of its global multinationals index this summer - a couple of months earlier than the British company's rival product.

News of Dow Jones's lead will be a blow for FTSE International, a joint venture between the London Stock Exchange and the Financial Times.

The British outfit was planning an autumn launch for its product and was widely expected to be the first provider with an index for large cross- border companies. Stock market analysts argue that being first in is important to ensure a new index's success. They say an early arrival increases the product's chances of being adopted as an international benchmark by fund managers across the globe.

The Dow and FTSE multinationals indices are aimed at investors who want to capitalise on the increasing globalisation of the world's stock markets and capital flows.

Dow Jones's index is set to feature a small number of companies with large shares of earnings outside their domestic markets. Dow Jones has yet to decide whether the index will include 30 companies or 50.

FTSE International is still engaged in a lengthy consultation over its own index.