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Investment Analysis

More positive economic data from the US pushed concerns over the Enron effect firmly to one side last week and helped drive global markets higher. The representative FTSE World index gained a solid 3.9 per cent.

In the US, lead indicators, which all point to an economic recovery, bolstered US stocks, with the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 gaining 2 per cent, 2.9 per cent and 8.3 per cent respectively. The latest evidence of an upturn came on Friday, with labour figures for February showing the first rise in employment since July last year. The Fed&#39s beige book, a summary of regional economic conditions, was more upbeat than previous reports. Fed chairman Alan Greenspan said the US expansion was “well under way.”

As expected, both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England left base rates unchanged. European and UK markets were given fresh impetus from US data last week. The FTSE Eurotop 300 pushed ahead by 2.9 per cent.

In Germany, the momentum from the previous week, which saw the Dax gain more than 7 per cent on better than expected business sentiment figures, continued, with the index up by 5.1 per cent. Large-cap tech shares have performed well recently but smaller stocks on Germany&#39s Neuer Markt have yet to feel any upthrust. Europe&#39s premier tech index celebrated its fifth birthday and stands at just over 1,000, having peaked at more than 8,000 two years ago.

In the UK, US employment data lifted the FTSE 100, to end up by 2.3 per cent. Invensys gained 14 per cent, followed closely by British Airways, which was up by 13.8 per cent.

In Japan, the market shrugged off data confirming the economy had shrunk for the third consecutive quarter and focused on the US economic revival and continued support provided by short-selling regulations. Shares in Tokyo extended their rally to a seven-month high, with the Nikkei 225 gaining an exceptional 9.9 per cent. The index is up by 26.2 per cent from its low hit on February 6.


Cazalet attacks upgraded Friends rating

Industry analyst Ned Caz-alet has criticised ratings agencies Standard & Poor&#39s and Moody&#39s for upgrading Friends Provident&#39s financial strength despite mounting liabilities and reduced excess capital.Following its demutualisation last year, Friends floated on the stockmarket and injected £1.2bn of the £1.6bn raised into its with-profits fund, earning a AArating by S&P and an Aa3 rating […]

National Savings and Investments – Guaranteed Equity Bond

Wednesday, March 13, 2002Type: Guaranteed equity bondAim: Growth linked to the FTSE 100 indexMinimum-maximum investment: £2,000-£1mTerm: Five yearsGuarantee: Capital returned in full at end of term regardless ofmovement in indexReturn: Capital along with up to 65% growth in the FTSE 100indexInterest rate: 3.5% gross a yearClosing date: April 17, 2002Commission: NoneTel: 0845 9645000

Clerical claims Sandler will put 20% squeeze on commission

IFAs will have to concentrate on their wealthiest clients if they are to operate profitably after Ron Sandler&#39s review into retail investment, claims Clerical Medical.Clerical believes Sandler&#39s review could result in commission being slashed by around 20 per cent in most product areas.Head of strategic marketing David Shelton believes the review is likely to have […]

The life of Equitable

For a long time, Equitable Life traded on its venerable history. As a national institution it was as hidebound as the tomes on the shelves of the lawyers who have bought its policies.According to Cornelius Walford, the Victorian biographer of the once eminent and recently disgraced institution: “The history of the Equitable is the history […]

Childcare - thumbnail

Three questions for employers…

The Family and Childcare Trust’s annual survey has been widely reported in the media and the two headline figures were these: the average cost of a nursery place for a child under two has risen by 33 per cent since 2010; and the costs have risen by five per cent in a single year.


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