Major markets rise on back of dollar


Shares in Frankfurt moved ahead for a second day, even after an early rise on Wall Street stalled, and the Xetra DAX index closed with a rise of 52.77 or 1.1 per cent at 4,879.47.

Dollar earners were helped by the continuing strength of the US currency. Among the motor stocks, BMW, up 11.2 per cent on Monday on speculation about a merger with Ford put on another 20 deutschmarks to DM1,209. Volkswagen turned back from its best levels to close 40 pfennigs higher at DM131.

Most chemicals stocks also took advantage of the stronger dollar. Banks were weak, led down by HypoVereinsbank, which gave up DM3.95 to DM132.55.

Paris was higher on the last day of the December account with the CAC-40 index registering a rise of 17.06 at 3,820.47.

France Telecom was stable, up 1.50 francs at Ffr428.90, but below the day's highs as the telecom regulator demanded a 14 per cent cut in 1999 interconnection rates - the rates France Telecom can charge its rivals for use of its network.

Engineering group Technip TECF soared Ffr38 or 8.9 per cent to Ffr464 as investors applauded its acquisition of two Mannesmann businesses for just under Ffr900 million that will make it the European leader in its field.

Zurich ran into profit-taking that erased 79.2 from the SMI index, which closed at 7,091.2.

Stockholm edged higher as telecom Ericsson continued to rally from the lows it reached last week after downbeat comments by chairman, Mr Lars Ramqvist.

The general index closed 33.94 or 1.1 per cent higher at 3,129.99 as banks and electricity companies prospered.

Madrid closed higher after a volatile session on thin volumes. The general index climbed 77.2 or 0.8 per cent to 9,679.9.