Equities And M&A Update

George W's victory in last week's US Presidential election gave the markets a lift (the 'Bush push'). Most of the world's equity markets ended the week in positive territory.

Impressive US job growth figures also helped propel European equities to six-month highs on Friday.

Despite concerns about the price of oil, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week on 10,387.54, its highest close in four months. The broader-based Standard and Poors 500 index closed at its highest level since March 2002. The Nasdaq also closed at a four month high.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Index also followed Wall Street's rally, closing higher Friday for the third consecutive session. Australian stocks continued to trade at record levels and Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan all reported gains.

On the M&A front, deal volume in October came in at $157bn, 29% higher than the month before, but lagged October 2003 by some 30%. Although 2004 failed to live up to the early-year promise, according to Dealogic, M&A activity was running at $1.6 trillion through October, up 39% on the same period in 2003.

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