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Investment analysis

Stockmarkets around the world continued their recovery last week, with many recapturing their pre-September 11 levels.

Technology stocks again led the way following better than expected results from Juniper Networks and Yahoo. In the US, the Nasdaq 100 jumped by 9.6 per cent while the UK&#39s Techmark ended the week 9.1 per cent higher.

Although stocks ended the week higher, news on the US economy was generally poor, with retail sales falling at their fastest rate for nine years during September while wholesale prices rose by a higher than expected 0.4 per cent for the second month running.

The one bright spot was the latest University of Michigan survey which showed an unexpected improvement in consumer sentiment.

In the UK, shares were making excellent progress until late on Thursday, when second-quarter sales figures from BT sent the market into reverse.

However, it was still a good week for the market as a whole, with the FTSE 100 rising by 2.2 per cent while the FTSE 250 and small-cap indices made up some of their recent underperformance, ending the week 4.1 and 5.2 per cent higher.

European equities also produced good returns despite the Central Bank&#39s rather disappointing decision to leave interest rates on hold. In France, the CAC40 rose by 4.1 per cent while the German Dax ended the week 3.1 per cent higher.

In the Far East, it was another good week for Japan, with the Nikkei 225 rising by more than 4 per cent for the second week on the back of strong buying of technology stocks.

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