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Friday, 19 April, 2002, 20:34 GMT 21:34 UK
Markets unfazed by terror threat
new york
Colour-coded alerts were issued after 11 September
The FBI has said it has received warnings that terrorists are planning attacks against banks in the north-eastern US.

It said that while it had no information about any specific plot, a general alert had been issued to banks in 12 states and the capital, Washington DC.

The warning came as the world's finance ministers gathered in Washington for a meeting of the World Bank and IMF.

But stock markets took the warning in their stride, with the Dow Jones index of leading US shares closing 0.51% up on the day at 10,257.11.

Yellow alert

"It's not anything disastrous. I don't think there is anything dramatic going on in the market," said Jack Schwetje, a trader at Deutsche Bank.

On Thursday, a plane crashed into an office building in central Milan in an incident that recalled the 11 September attacks in New York.

US stocks dipped lower on the news, but then recovered as the Italian authorities said the crash appeared to be an accident.

The FBI said on Friday the threat status for the north-east was unchanged at yellow, which represents the middle threat status.

The US developed colour-coded risk levels last month as part of a new "National Alert System" in the wake of 11 September.

US attorney general John Ashcroft said there was no need for banks to close branches or members of the public to stay away.

He said it was government policy to issue warnings where appropriate in the hope that increased vigilance would disrupt the plans of would-be attackers.

Regular warnings

The warning is the latest in a series of alerts to be issued by the FBI and the newly established Homeland Security Council.

A general alert was issued in early December to cover the Christmas holiday period.

It was then extended to include the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Other warnings to specific locations and industries - including nuclear power plants - have also been issued.

See also:

24 Dec 99 | Americas
FBI prompts terror alert
12 Oct 01 | Americas
FBI fears more terror attacks
09 Oct 01 | Americas
America on high alert
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