Most of the world's major equity markets ended last week higher, with
stocks in the US rallying on Thursday and Friday following stronger than
expected results from Yahoo, Motorola and Microsoft.
Technology stocks rallied, pushing the Nasdaq to its biggest one-day gain
for nearly three months while the broader market also put in a strong
US economic data was mixed, with retail sales showing only a modest
increase although those who are concerned about inflation had their fears
put at ease with the latest producer price index figures falling at the
fastest monthly rate for more than two years.
Having fallen for seven straight sessions, the UK's FTSE 100 recovered its
composure on Thursday and Friday, with a strong showing from telecoms and
pharmaceuticals helping the index end the week just over 1 per cent higher.
In spite of the rally, the index still remains some 20 per cent below its
all-time high. Technology stocks bounced off their recent lows helping the
beleaguered Techmark 100 to a gain of 3.1 per cent.
In Europe and Japan, equity markets ended more or less where they started
although the emerging markets sector continued to suffer from continuing
concerns over the Argentine debt crisis.
This week sees a spate of second quarter earnings announcements from both
sides of the Atlantic and to say that the numbers are expected to be
horrible would be something of an understatement.
However, some may draw comfort from the fact that this may mark the low
point in the profits' cycle.
Having endured seven consecutive losing sessions, the FTSE 100 rallied on
the back of a stronger Wall Street on Thursday and Friday to leave the
index 1.1 per cent higher. However, mid and small cap stocks remained more
subdued, with the FTSE 250 gaining 0.4 per cent while the small cap index
fell 0.7 per cent.
It was a somewhat mixed week for European equity markets, with Kuoni's
profit warning on Friday confirming that the slowdown was not confined to
the new economy while Epcos' warning on earnings provided evidence of a
further slowdown in the electronics sector.
Following a subdued start, it turned out to be a good week on Wall Street,
with all three main indices closing higher. Leading the way was the Nasdaq
which rose 4.9 per cent. Gains were not limited to technology stocks, with
the broader-based S&P 500 up by 2.1 per cent while the Dow ended up by 2.8
per cent higher.
Shares in Tokyo rose following a battering although the rally remained
unconvincing. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 per cent. With little in the way of
economic data over the short term, investors have turned their attention to
upper house elections at the end of the month for signs of structural
In spite of a rally on Wall Street and a stronger technology sector, it
was a poor week for most of Asia's equity markets. The Hang Seng fell 3 per
cent while the Taiwan stockmarket fell to its lowest level since 1993 after
the country's leading economic research institute cut its forecast for
It was a generally positive week for international stockmarkets, with the
US and, in particular, the technology sector leading the way. But emerging
markets continued to suffer following the Argentine debt crises, with the
sector as a whole falling 4 per cent, leaving it 7.6 per cent lower since
the start of the year.