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The market's uses

I say this is unusual because equity issues have for years been small and rare. Bank of England figures show that, in the last 10 years, net equity issues by UK companies averaged only £8.7bn a year. That's just 4 per cent of total capital spending during this time. And most of those issues were banks recapitalising themselves after the crisis.

In the US, things have been worse. In the last 10 years, non-financial companies have been net buyers of shares - to the tune of $345bn (£225bn) a year on average.

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