Stock Exchange sees trade at record level

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The Independent Online

October was the London Stock Exchange's busiest month ever, with the number of recorded trades topping 5 million for the first time.

Investors piled back into equities in the first half of the month, as the market continued its rebound from lows set in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States. Figures revealed in the LSE's monthly market report yesterday showed that 5.03 million trades were registered during the month, up 51 per cent on October 2000.

The previous record was set in March 2000, when 4.7 million trades were carried out as the demand for technology stocks reached its peak. The number of trades so far this year – 40.8 million – is greater than the total for the whole of 2000.

Earlier this week, the LSE said that turnover in its broker services division was up 35 per cent in the six months to 30 September, driven by growth in the use of Sets, its electronic order book. October was another record month for Sets, with 1.8 million trades going through the book, compared with 1.5 million in September and more than double the same period last year. LSE shares jumped 11p to 383p, their highest since flotation in July.

The new issues market remains extremely tight, however, with just six initial public offerings last month. The amount of money raised by new entrants was £81m, 95 per cent lower than in October 2000.

Gerard Lane, strategist at UBS Warburg, said: "The uncertainty caused by the events of 11 September led to a repositioning of portfolios and with the benefit of global monetary easing – while the immediate outlook is dim – through the gloom people can see the sunny uplands of global cyclical recovery."

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