Stock Markets - the week reviewed

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US stocks rebounded last week, having fallen 9 per cent in the previous four weeks, as inflation fears dissipated. The Dow Jones index rose 311.86 points, or 4.9 per cent, to 6,703.55, making it the best week for US stocks since Christmas 1991. Unexpectedly strong earnings from Microsoft on Friday helped convince investors by the end of the week that shares in America's leading companies remain a good bet. The tobacco company Philip Morris saw the biggest gains on the week.

In London, the FT-SE 100 index rose just 0.9 per cent on the week to 4,310.2 as trading activity was muted by political uncertainty ahead of the general election. Investors showed most enthusiasm for banks and mortgage lenders ahead of the Alliance & Leicester conversion this week.

In Germany, the DAX index rose 1.2 per cent. The index usually tracks the dollar/mark exchange rate, rising or falling with the dollar. The index fell on Friday wiping out some of the week's gain as the dollar weakened, threatening overseas earnings of the leading export companies such as BMW and Daimler-Benz.

In Paris, the CAC index fell 27 points, or 1 per cent, on the week to 2,547.56. It lost 2.6 per cent on Friday alone as investors worried about the prospect of the government calling an early election. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg

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