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Positive end to torrid trading week

A strong finish to trading in London and New York has capped the end of a turbulent week for the world's stock markets.

New York's benchmark Dow Jones closed 1.1% higher on Friday mirroring a revival elsewhere as as US retail sales came in better than expected and European markets reacted favourably to the short-selling ban.

The FTSE 100 Index in London closed up 3%, or 157 points, at 5320, with markets in Europe also higher. The CAC-40 in Paris jumped was 4% higher while the Dax in Frankfurt was up 3.5%

European markets started to recover after it was confirmed that French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel would meet next Tuesday to discuss the eurozone's financial problems. European authorities took further action to bolster financial markets by banning short-selling of financial stocks in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium for 15 days.

Markets around the world have endured wild swings all this week sparked by concerns over the health of the US economy, sovereign debt fears and rumours over the financial position of several of France's leading banks, with Societe General and BNP Paribas especially singled out.

Christian Noyer, the head of France's central bank, was forced to state the rumours were "unfounded" and that the country's financial institutions were sound. SocGen chief Frederic Oudea added the rumours were totally baseless and clients could have confidence in the bank.

Worries about the health of French banks unsettled share prices of UK banks, with fears over the knock-on impact hitting Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC.

London's blue chips, overall, have lost £145 billion in value over the past two weeks even after Friday's rise.

In the US the S&P 500 closed 0.5% higher and the technology-focused Nasdaq rose 0.6%.

US stocks have been very volatile, with the Dow Jones seeing swings of between 4% and 5% on a daily basis throughout the week. All three major US stock indexes are more than 10% down from their highs in April.


From Belfast Telegraph