Stock Markets - the week reviewed

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US stocks closed the week little changed from the previous week, up 0.4 per cent at 7199.21. Most days the market succeeded in shrugging off worries about this week's rise in interest rates and twice set record highs. Oil and gas drillers, retailers and health care companies led the gains. A drop sparked by disappointing profits from Hewlett Packard erased much of this progress on Friday.

In London, the FTSE-100 index consolidated gains of the previous week, rising 1.4 per cent to 4693.9. Takeover hopes across the market were fired at the start of the week when the Guinness/Grand Metropolitan merger was announced. The momentum was not sustained as investors began to consider the possible impact of next month's budget. Thursday's inflation report which showed the former Conservative government had reached its target of 2.5 per cent provided some encouragement that interest rates will not have much further to rise.

In Germany, the DAX Index closed at a record high. Over the week it climbed 1.2 per cent to 3604.55. In France, the CAC Index closed at a record, having climbed 5.7 per cent over the week to 2784.28. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg