German shares strongest


DAX: 3749.27 (+19.00)

German shares proved the strongest among Europe's major equity markets yesterday, with dealers saying the market was largely driven by technical factors ahead of today's "triple witching" of futures and options contract. A well-regarded economic institute reported that German business confidence was slightly higher than expected in May and said Europe's power-house economy could still qualify for monetary union.

CAC-40: 2739.69 (-12.05)

French shares were volatile yesterday, slipping to lows as new premier Lionel Jospin's outlined his programme for government to parliament. Some of his comments discouraged investors, but the market recovered from this slump because, according to one dealer, "we already knew most of what he said".

Mibtel: 13058 (+128)

Italian shares ended firm but slipped back from higher levels in late trade, in the wake of a correction in bond futures, with profit-taking seen on selected major stocks after two indexes reached new highs.