Markets edge up as euro looms

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The Independent Online
SHARES GAINED ground in the US and Europe yesterday in extremely quiet trading, but more gloom about Japan's economy pulled Tokyo and Hong Kong shares lower. The London stock exchange was closed for the Bank Holiday.

Wall Street was led up by technology stocks. The Dow had risen 31 points, 0.3 per cent, to 9,250.03 by mid-morning. The Nasdaq was up 25 points, or 1.2 per cent, at 2,188.47.

In Europe - where preparations for the euro kept trading volumes low - one of the biggest gainers was DaimlerChrysler. It reported a 13 per cent rise in group revenues (on the previous combined figures of Daimler- Benz and Chrysler) to $148bn (pounds 89bn). 1998 profits would be significantly higher than the combined 1997 total, the company said. Finland's Nokia advanced on reports of strong Christmas sales of mobile phones.

But in Tokyo the Nikkei index fell 89 points to 13,709.96. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 122 points to 10,170.14. Taiwan's market tumbled 201.35 points to 6,481.65.