Share prices in upbeat mood

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The Independent Online
LONDON share prices are expected to continue their rally this week, but the market will be in nervous mood ahead of Friday's US employment figures, writes Robert Chote. These will be watched closely for clues to the timing of the next US interest rates rise.

World stock and bond markets ended last week in upbeat mood, after the US commerce department published unexpectedly subdued figures for growth in the US economy during the second quarter of the year. These helped to damp down fears about inflation.

The New York Stock Exchange called a halt to computerised share-buying for the second time in a week on Friday, as the index rose 51.16 points to close at 3,881.05.

The FT-SE 100 index rose by more than 30 points on Friday to give a 75-point rise over the week, closing at 3,265.1. The market has risen by almost 15 per cent during its two- month rally.

Technical analysts expect 3,270 to be a barrier. However, Richard Kersley of Barclays de Zoete Wedd predicted the market would remain upbeat.

Friday's US August employment figures are expected by Wall Street analysts to show that 260,000 non-farm jobs were created last month. Any figure much stronger than this is likely to renew fears of an early rates rise.

The threat of an early rise in British interest rates could be fuelled again by the latest purchasing managers' index from the Institute of Purchasing and Supply. This is expected to show continuing problems meeting demand.