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Investment analysis

The rapid success by anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan and the confirmation that it was likely that mechanical failure and not terrorist activity caused the plane crash over New York last Monday boosted global equity markets last week.

The FTSE World index gained 1.5 per cent over the five days, finishing higher for the second consecutive week.

US markets were boosted by better than expected retail sales figures which showed a month on month rise and by the news that Mohammed Atef, senior military leader of the al Queda terrorist network, was killed by a US bombing raid near Kabul.

The corporate picture also looked a little rosier, with Dell Computers reporting third-quarter results that beat analysts&#39 forecasts and Yahoo rising after announcing restructuring and job cuts. The bullish momentum faded on Friday when economic data confirmed a fall in the consumer price index and industrial production in October.

After losing a big part of the gains made in the previous week after the plane crash, the FTSE Eurotop 300 staged a TMT-led recovery to end the week up by 1.8 per cent. Oil stocks globally were hit hard midweek when the price of crude oil sank to two-year lows after the Organisation of Petroleum Countries and non-Opec members, namely Russia and Norway, were unable to agree on production cuts. The disagreement fuelled speculation of a price war.

In the UK, fears that British Airways might have been ejected from the FTSE 100 were dispelled after the share price rallied by over 27 per cent during the week.

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