STOCK MARKETS - THE WEEK REVIEWED

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The Independent Online
US stocks suffered a volatile week, rising at the start, losing 140 points on Wednesday and then rallying on the last two days as concern about interest rate rises ebbed and flowed. The Dow Jones Index rose 100 points, or 1.45 per cent over the five days. IBM, Procter & Gamble and Caterpillar led the gaining stocks. These all have substantial export businesses and will benefit from the weaker dollar.

In London, the FTSE-100 index rose 4.2 per cent to 4630.90, a record high, giving the market its best week since July 1995. The receding possibility that US interest rates will rise again later this month boosted stocks across the board but banking stocks led the gains as market makers faced shortages. Oil stocks were also prominent following gains by oil shares in the US and a 3 per cent jump in fuel prices.

In Germany, stocks started the week at record highs but fell as the plunging dollar overshadowed a battery of earnings and shareholders' meetings. The DAX Index rose 2.95 per cent on the week to 3562.41. Exporters Bayer and Hoechst were among the worst performers as Bayer lost 4 per cent and Hoechst 2.7 per cent. Deutsche Lufthansa was the biggest gainer, rising more than 16 per cent on earnings optimism.

In France, the CAC Index was little changed, falling 21 points to 2633.9, or 0.8 per cent. The plunging dollar pulled down the shares of the multinationals. Schneider, Sanofi and Valeo led the declining stocks.

Political uncertainty ahead of the elections at the end of the month is adding to investors' nervousness. Recent polls suggest the government's popularity is slipping and the coalition could lose its majority in parliament. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg

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