European Closing Update: Higher but Volume Thins

Vodafone and BP Amoco account for much of the rise in London stocks.
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LONDON -- The indices may be going up, but volume is disappearing down the Easter plughole.

The

FTSE 100

closed 110.9 points, or 1.8%, higher at 6,184.9, and the

Techmark

index ended 91.2 better, or 2.6%, at 3,562.3. Nothing changes, though, and everything still depends on our cousins across the water.

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

accounted for nearly half the Footsie rise as it gained 14p, or 4.5%, at 317 ($5.04).

BP Amoco

(BPA)

also threw its weight behind the rise with a gain of 14.5, or 2.9%, to 520.5.

The techs were firmer on balance, but it seems that investors are getting a little bit more selective.

Elan Corp

rose 237p, or 8.8%, to

29.50 and

Capita Group

rose 104p, or 5.3%, to

15.24 in continued response to its bullish AGM statement. However,

Kewill Systems

fell 97p, or 6.5%, to

14.05.

Blue Circle

(BCI) - Get Report

ended virtually unchanged at 434 as French building materials group

Lafarge

increased its bid for the company. Lafarge, through purchases via its market representative

Dresdner Kleinwort Benson

, is believed to have lifted its stake in Blue Circle to 29.9%, suggesting that its increased offer of 450p per share has put the cat among the pigeons.

Pharmaceutical stocks were also actively sought, with

Glaxo Wellcome

(GLX)

ending 65p higher, or 3.5%, at

19.02, and

SmithKline Beecham

(SBH) - Get Report

adding 28.5p, or 3.5%, to 851.5.

Media stocks had another solid performance, with

Pearson

rising 74p, or 3.9%, to

19.83.

Reuters

(RTRSY)

gained 50p, or 4.4%, to

10.58 on the back of Tuesday's sterling first-quarter results and favorable broker comment.

Europe's other bourses made modest gains, with the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt closing up 20.22, or 0.3%, at 7216.71 and the

CAC 40

in Paris finishing 19.02 higher, or 0.3%, at 6166.46.

Software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

gained 42.00 euros, or 6.8%, to 663.00 ($631.38) despite reporting declining first-quarter income. The company said it expected better sales in the upcoming quarters.

Siemens

(SMWAY)

rose 3.90 euros, or 2.7%, to 149.85 and

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

finished up 3.00 euros, or 2.3%, at 133.00.

T-Online

fell 1.36 euros, or 3.5%, to 38.00.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

fell 1.61 euros, or 2.2%, to 70.99, erasing early gains after reporting solid first-quarter results. Other European telecoms closed mixed, with

France Telecom

(FTE)

ending down 2.00 euros, or 1.2%, at 164.00 and

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

up 0.50 euros, or 2.1%, at 24.60.

Dresdner Bank

(DRSDY)

surged 1.19 euros, or 2.8%, to 43.50 amid renewed takeover speculation. This time Dutch bank

ABN AMRO

(ABN)

, which fell 0.20 euros, or 0.9%, to 22.80, was named as a potential predator.