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

National Westminster


, is strongly rumored to have its hand in it's pocket with the a potential bid for

Abbey National

, which closed up 58.5, or 7.6%, at 831. Bank of Scotland closed 32p higher, or 4.7%, at 712.


(BCS) - Get Report

, another fancied player, gained 84p, or 5.4%, to 16.47 pounds.

Tech stocks took a leaf out of the Nasdaq book, with

Baltimore Technologies

climbing 865p, or 10.7%, to 89.85 pounds and

Arm Holdings


finishing 561p higher, or 15.6%, at 41.50 pounds.

Games publisher



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,

British Telecom


rose 28p, or 2.3%, to 12.64 pounds, but

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

ended a penny lower, or 0.3%, at 368, with the market still digesting the

Hutchison Whampoa

share placing.



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

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt surging 237.64, or 3.1%, to 7932.42 and the

CAC 40

in Paris climbing 95.95 higher, or 1.5%, to 6364.26.

German technology shares rebounded with a vengeance, as


(EPC) - Get Report

jumped 27.49 euros, or 22.44% to 149.99. ($145.69),


(SAP) - Get Report

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,

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

erased early losses to close up 4.40 euros, or 5.2%, at 89.40 and

France Telecom


finished up 8 euros, or 4.4%, at 191.