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Investment analysis

The last week was somewhat quieter for most of the world&#39s stockmarkets, with trading volumes significantly lower due to holidays in both the US and Japan.

However, most indices ended the week in positive territory, consolidating on the strong gains achieved over the last two months.

In the UK, both the FTSE 100 and 250 indices ended the week flat while the small cap index, which was particularly hard hit after September 11, continued its recovery.

On the economic front, the rise in third-quarter UK GDP was revised down to 0.5 per cent, giving a year on year figure of 2.1 per cent. It now seems likely that the UK economy will avoid a recession, with a recent CBI survey predicting a growth rate of 1.7 per cent next year, faster than any other of the countries in the Group of Seven industrialised nations.

In the US, a strong showing on Friday helped both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 end the week in positive territory alth-ough the Nasdaq failed to recoup all its profit-taking-related losses, ending the week slightly lower.

In Europe, there were no surprises from the ECB which decided to leave interest rates on hold at its fortnightly meeting. Meanwhile, most markets ended the week slightly stronger, with Germany leading the way in spite of confirmation that it is now in recession.

Meanwhile, in Japan, inv-estors were relieved that the market was able to consolidate on the previous week&#39s strong gains in spite of a further high profile bankruptcy in the insurance sector. The Nikkei 225 ending a shortened trading week up by 0.4 per cent.

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