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The Independent Online
US stocks soared 151 points last week, a gain for the Dow Jones index of more than 2 per cent, taking it to a record 7,345.91. After the Federal Reserve decided on Tuesday to leave interest rates unchanged, investors decided that corporate profits can live up to the most optimistic forecasts. Procter & Gamble and IBM enjoyed the largest gains.

In London, the FT-SE 100 fell 32 points on the week - the first time in two months it has ended the week lower than it began. Trading was nervous in the first two days of the week ahead of the decision on US interest rates, but the index was helped by some excellent results from companies such as Land Securities and Carlton Communications.

In Germany, the DAX index rose 40 points on the week. The retailer Metro was the star, gaining 3.7 per cent on optimism about its results, which are due to be released this week. Exporters such as Bayer, Hoechst and Henkel rose as the dollar gained against the mark.

In France, the CAC index lost 0.8 per cent to 2,762.90. Gains early in the week drove it to a record high, but these were all wiped out on Thursday and Friday on nervousness ahead of the parliamentary elections. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg