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Investment analysis

Global equity markets lost all and more of the gains made in the previous week, ending the final full week of April lower on earnings&#39 disappointments from leading global players. The benchmark FTSE World index shed 3 per cent.

Although 61 per cent of companies in the US have met analysts&#39 reduced first-quarter expectations, markets were driven lower during the week by the lack of guidance.

US economic data was mixed. The Commerce Department reported seasonally adjusted economic growth of 5.8 per cent a year for the first quarter, its fastest pace in over two years, orders for durable goods fell for the second time in three months and sales of new homes also declined. The Fed&#39s beige book, while a little more hopeful, also raised doubts about the strength of the recovery, as did the University of Michigan&#39s consumer sentiment index, which fell in April.

The Dow, S&P and the Nasdaq 100 all finished lower, losing 3.4 per cent, 4.3 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively.

In Europe, poor sentiment in the telecoms sector dictated last week. Ericcson lost one-third of its value in three days after a profit warning.

In the UK, the FTSE 100, which has traded between 5,000 and 5,370 for almost six months, ended the week 1.6 per cent lower. Mm02, the BT offshoot, and Arm Holdings were two of the biggest blue-chip sufferers. Economic data was far from convincing, with figures showing that the economy hardly grew in quarter one. Mid-cap stocks lost 1.1 per cent but small-cap stocks fared a little better, with the Hoare Govett smaller companies index gaining 0.1 per cent.

In Japan, the yen&#39s rise hit motor stocks but good performance from Matsushita Electric Industrial, the world&#39s biggest consumer electronics company, which ended higher after restructuring talks, helped the Nikkei 225 gain 0.3 per cent.

In South-east Asia, Hong Kong&#39s Hang Seng index eased forward by 1.2 per cent after positive broker recommendations and on the outlook for US interest rates.

Elsewhere, oil stocks helped the Russian market gain further ground, finishing at levels unseen since before the financial crisis of 1998.

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Andrew Merricks

Born: December 25, 1959, in Purley, South London.Age: 42.Lives: Hove, East Sussex, with his three children.Education: BEd honours, Brighton Polytechnic.Career: 1982/85 physical education teacher; 1985/90 financial adviser, Guardian Royal Exchange; 1990-present partner, Simpsons of Brighton.Life ambition: “To get to number one with World Cup single Better Than U, earn enough to retire and go horse […]

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HSBC – Pep Plus

Monday, April 29, 2002Type: Dublin based closed ended fund for Pep maturitiesAim: Growth by investing in HSBC UK equity growth 7Minimum investment: Lump sum £3,000Investment split: 100% in HSBC UK equity growth 7Yield: 70% of growth in FTSE 100Charges: Initial 5.25%, annual 0.75%Commission: Initial 3%Tel: 0800 181890

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