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US shares on the up again after record highs

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Shares in the USA started well after Wall Street registered record highs yesterday after the Fed said it would keep supporting the economy.

The Dow Jones rose 169.26 points, or 1.1%, to end at 15,460.92, while the S&P 500 rose around 22 to stand at 1,675.

Today, after the market open, the benchmark Dow was up 29 points, 0.19%, the S&P rose 0.06% while the tech heavy Nasdaq was up 7 at 3,586.

On S&P, H&R Block was the biggest gainer, adding 4.5%, as it said it plans to sell its bank assets to Republic Bancorp Inc.

The firm hired Goldman Sachs last year to evaluate options for its banking unit amid new Fed rules requiring savings and loans to hold more capital.

The biggest faller was United Parcel Services Inc, which dropped 5.4%, after a profit warning.

In the UK, Footsie continued to pile on the pounds.

Global equity markets have been reassured this week as it looks like the Fed could stick to its current bond buying programme for longer than expected.

Matt Basi, head of UK sales trading at CMC Markets, said: "It appears bullish equity traders are once again happy to rely on the ‘free insurance’ offered by Fed intervention and push risk assets higher – despite the general panic we saw in June when tapering appeared imminent.”

The UK’s top flight index stands at 6,556, having added 0.19%.

Footsie has made some solid gains this week, up 3% - its best performance since November last year – thanks to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, who continued to back money printing for the time being.

The big story in London was the takeover of engineering firm Invensys (LON:ISYS), which gave the thumbs-up to a £3.3bn approach from France’s Schneider Electric.

The engineering firm added almost £500mln to its market value on Friday as it told Schneider it would advise shareholders to accept a firm offer at the proposed 505p a share price.

The pair are now bashing out the details of the deal.

After its stonking share price rise yesterday, it was only natural that silver miner Fresnillo (LON:FRES) lost some of its shine after adding 12% yesterday as the spot silver price advanced.

G4S (LON:GFS) and Serco (LON:SRP) lost more ground as the security firms felt the impact of a Serious Fraud Office probe.

A government review found that the duo overcharged the Ministry of Justice for their electronic tags.

On a quiet day, it was the analysts who were driving the movers. Reckitt Benckiser (LON:RB.), the company behind consumer goods such as Cillit Bang, fell 4.61% as Nomura cut its target price by 100p to £48, while insurer Resolution (LON:RSL) topped the chart as the Japanese broker upgraded the stock from ‘reduce’ to ‘neutral’.

There may not have been news out from Gulf Keystone Petroleum (LON:GKP), but the AIM favourite added 6.50% to its market valuation on Friday.

This was also the case for Plethora Solutions (LON:PLE), the company that reckons it has a cure for premature ejaculation, which shot up 17.39% on Friday.

Petroceltic International (LON:PCI) unveiled a new exploration venture in the waters off western Greece as it registered minor gains on the stock market.

Alongside equal partners Edison International and Hellenic Petroleum, it will explore the Patraikos block.

The trio will initially have three years to carryout 2D and 3D seismic exploration and geological studies. During this period, Petroceltic’s spending commitment is about US$3.5mln.

Strategic Natural Resources (LON:SNRP) fell 8.22% as it revealed it has compiled a short-list of three prospective strategic investors, but says there has been no bid for the company.

It also revealed that it will maintain its holding in South Africa’s Elitheni coal mine above 51%; currently it owns 74% of the operation.

SNR hopes the new investment will allow the group to accelerate development of Elitheni as well as offering the opportunity to refinance its existing short-term bridging loan with Land Consultants Limited.

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