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.


FTSE 100

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


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


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


Blue Circle

(BCI) - Get Report

ended virtually unchanged at 434 as French building materials group


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


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


rising 74p, or 3.9%, to




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) - 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.



rose 3.90 euros, or 2.7%, to 149.85 and


(EPC) - Get Report

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


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


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


(TEF) - Get Report

up 0.50 euros, or 2.1%, at 24.60.

Dresdner Bank


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



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