LONDON -- Wall Street breathed fresh life into a flagging London market, which for most of this week has been left uninspired by Chancellor Gordon Brown's turgid Budget. The FTSE 100 closed 143.9 points higher, or 2.2%, at 6,738.5 and the Techmark index of leading technology stocks was 158.9 better, or 3.5%, at 4,670.
Sun Life & Provincial
certainly did its bit to help the Footsie, surging 129.25 pence, or 39%, to 457 ($7.27) after revealing it is in talks that may lead to France's
buying the 44% in it that Axa doesn't already own.
Banking shares were also subject to consolidation speculation. The big question is exactly which bank is going to receive a bid approach and which bank is going to do the bidding.
Bank of Scotland
, which failed to snag
, is strongly rumored to have its hand in it's pocket with the a potential bid for
, which closed up 58.5, or 7.6%, at 831. Bank of Scotland closed 32p higher, or 4.7%, at 712.
, another fancied player, gained 84p, or 5.4%, to 16.47 pounds.
Tech stocks took a leaf out of the Nasdaq book, with
climbing 865p, or 10.7%, to 89.85 pounds and
finishing 561p higher, or 15.6%, at 41.50 pounds.
struggled to cope with another profits warning and collapsed 215p, or 38.0%, to 390. Not even news that it has sold its stake in Norway's
for 94 million pounds helped.
In the telecom sector,
rose 28p, or 2.3%, to 12.64 pounds, but
ended a penny lower, or 0.3%, at 368, with the market still digesting the
ended with a gain of 96p, or 2.9%, to 33.60 pounds.
Europe's continental bourses closed out the week solidly in positive territory, with the
in Frankfurt surging 237.64, or 3.1%, to 7932.42 and the
in Paris climbing 95.95 higher, or 1.5%, to 6364.26.
German technology shares rebounded with a vengeance, as
jumped 27.49 euros, or 22.44% to 149.99. ($145.69),
rose 35.30 euros, or 4%, to 926.35 and
climbed 1.91 euros, or 3.1%, to 64.10.
Rumors that the merging utilities
were considering a bid for Suez Lyonnaise helped push Veba shares up 2.45 euros, or 5.1%, to 50.65 and Viag 1.05 euros higher, or 5.5%, to 20.25.
Telecoms around Europe also had a good session.
ended up 8.50 euros, or 3.8%, at 234.50,
erased early losses to close up 4.40 euros, or 5.2%, at 89.40 and
finished up 8 euros, or 4.4%, at 191.