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Investment analysis

Stockmarkets recovered most of the previous week&#39s losses during the last week of November although trading was generally light as a result of the US Thanksgiving holiday. However, share prices would probably have moved even higher if it was not for the dollar which continued to decline against most major currencies.

By the close of trade last Friday, the FTSE World index had gained 2.1 per cent, taking its gain for the year to 23.6 per cent.

In the UK, mm02 led the FTSE 100 higher, with its shares jumping by 9.1 per cent on good results and continuing takeover speculation. The FTSE 100 made another attempt at breaching 4,400 and although it achieved this, prices fell back on Thursday and Friday to leave the index at 4342, 0.7 per cent higher over the week.

Mid and small companies reversed some of their recent underperformance, with the FTSE 250 gaining 1.4 per cent and the FTSE Small Cap index ending 1.1 per cent higher.

Considering the amount of bullish economic data coming out of the US, shares were somewhat subdued, with most of the week&#39s gains occurring on Monday. However, bulls took comfort from the revised third-quarter GDP number which at 8.2 per cent was the US economy&#39s strongest quarterly advance for nearly 20 years. There was also encouraging data on industrial production and consumer confidence.

By the end of the week, the Dow Jones & S&P 500 had risen 1.7 per cent and 2.4 per cent while the Nasdaq gained 3.5 per cent as a result of a strong performance from the technology sector.

In Europe, shares rose on increasing optimism over the health of the global economy, with the FTSE Eurotop 300 climbing 1.5 per cent. However, exporters came under pressure on Thursday and Friday as the euro leapt to its highest-ever level against the dollar.

In Japan, stocks reversed some of their recent losses in spite of renewed worries over the health of the banking sector.The Nikkei 225 regained the 10,000 level, with the index gaining 2.5 per cent.

Hong Kong&#39s Hang Seng jumped by 4 per cent while shares in Singapore and Korea ended over 3 per cent higher.


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