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Investment Analysis

World equity markets ended what was a generally quiet week in a positive frame of mind following the release of further economic data which continued to point to a global economic recovery.

In the US, markets were given a boost after industrial production figures showed a bigger than expected increase while positive reports on consumer sentiment and producer prices added to the bullish tone.

The news helped the Dow Jones and S&P 500 recoup earlier losses, ending 0.2 and 0.3 per cent higher respectively. However, the Nasdaq fared less well, ending the week 3.8 per cent lower, with technology stocks again under the cosh.

In the UK, a late rally on Friday helped the FTSE 100 claw its way to a 0.1 per cent gain over the week while the FTSE Small Cap index rose by a similar figure. Mid caps, which have significantly outperformed big and smaller companies over the last 12 months had a relatively poor week with a fall of 0.8 per cent after sharp falls in a number of telecom stocks.

In Europe, the FTSE Eurotop 300 index ended 0.5 per cent lower in spite of a rally in most of the region&#39s stockmarkets on Friday. In Germany, shares continued to outperform, with the Dax rising by 0.8 per cent while in France the CAC40 ended the week 0.9 per cent lower.

In Japan, stocks gave up some of their gains of the previous few weeks although news that US retailer Wal-mart is about to enter the Japanese market sent shares higher on Friday. Over the week, the Nikkei 225 fell by 2 per cent.

Elsewhere in the Far East stocks were generally lower as investors locked in profits following strong outperformance over the last few months.

In the bond markets, yields again rose as investors continued to anticipate economic recovery. In the US, the 10-year Treasury yield ended the week at 5.33 per cent while in the UK gilts of the same maturity rose to 5.26 per cent.

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