LONDON -- For almost all of Monday's session it looked like London's equity markets would make a good start to the last quarter of the financial year. But a closing auction program trade turned the whole picture on its head and ultimately the
closed back below 6,300 at 6,284.50 -- a loss of 9.70 points from Friday.
For most of the session, the software and computer services sector led the way higher. Overall, the
gained 47.15 points to 3,782.
, constituents of both the techMARK 100 and the main blue chip index, found themselves back in vogue on talk that they are about to benefit from their mobile phone messaging operations, known as SMS. CMG was the FTSE 100's biggest gainer as it soared 106p ($1.53), or 8.1%, to
14.15, while Logica followed close behind, rising 110p to
, which develops and licenses software primarily to the financial and health services, went along for the ride for most of the session as it traded comfortable above 650p. But one trade for 23,000 shares in the end of day auction saw the stock close down 2.5p at 632.5. With total today's volume standing at 973,000 shares, this is clearly unrepresentative of what went on.
Telecom stocks tried to do their bit as well. Residential cable services supplier
benefited from talk that it is to "merge" with cable and telco operator
. The shares posted a 2.25p gain to 134.25 on the back of the rumors.
staged a decent bounce of 15.5p gain to 726.5, while fellow telco giant
fell at the close to end 1.5p lower at 251.
Cable & Wireless
received a boost after it announced a voice over the Internet deal with
. Its shares rose 5p to 970.
But it wasn't all sweetness and light. Beleaguered online auction site
fell a further 1.5% to 48p as the company reported that shareholders had voted to approve the acquisition of
, the German website.
It was a mixed day among the banks.
racked up some early gains, but after hitting a session high of
19.11, the stock succumbed to profit taking and fell back to close 24p lower at
remained back in favor as it rose another 6p to 637.
Europe's other major stock markets were able to close higher Monday, as the
in Paris ended up 79.4, or 1.4%, at 6,349.3 and the
in Frankfurt was up 68.7, or 1%, at 6,866.8 late in the German session. However, the Neuer Markt's tech-heavy
index was 70.4 higher, or 1.4%, at 5,125.6.
Telecoms were in positive territory, as
climbed 1.70 euros, or 1.4%, to 123.00 ($108.60), after announcing it plans to float wireless unit Orange by Christmas.
rose 1.05 euros, or 2.7%, to 40.02 and
closed up 0.91 euros, or 4%, at 23.36.
Paris-listed network services outfit
fell 0.67 euros, or 1.6%, to 40.58. Germany's
rose 1.02 euros, or 1.9%, to 55.90, after the company announced it would purchase communication circuits maker
for $42 million in stock.