As riots in Egypt continue, stock markets around the world have fallen.
In London the FTSE 100 fell 1.4pc, as did the CAC in France, while in Wall Street, the Dow Jones Index was off 1.3pc in late trading despite improvement in the economy in the final quarter last year. The Cairo stock market was closed on Friday after it fell 17 per cent this week.
Riots in Egypt caused investors to scramble into gold, a traditional safety measure in uncertain times. The spot price surged 2.3pc in New York on Friday night, having closed up $7 at $1,342 in London. Oil edged closer still to $100 a barrel, with Brent climbing $1.87 to $99.26.
The dollar also benefited, growing against the euro and pound, aided by America’s rapid economic recovery in the final three months of 2010, with an acceleration in growth that the Federal Reserve hopes will feeds off itself.
The US, the single biggest export market for UK companies, saw its economy expand at an annual pace of 3.2pc in the fourth quarter, up from 2.6pc the preceding quarter, but slightly below the 3.5pc forecast.
“We can take comfort from the fact that many of the signs of underlying demand are strong,” said Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC.
The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending led the charge in the quarter with a 4.4pc rise, its largest gain since the first three months of 2006. That facilitated the economy to grow by 2.9pc over the whole year, compared with a contraction of 2.6pc in 2009.