LONDON - It's Bastille Day, and the revolution seems underway once again as the New Economy throws off the shackles imposed by the Old. The
closed down 0.3 points at 6,473.4, while the
index of leading technology shares soared to 3,571.28, a gain of 122.28 points.
Computer services companies
, up 40 to 572 ($8.60), and
were among the day's big gainers in the main index. CMG was boosted by not only the current bullish sector sentiment but by a broker upgrade. The shares rose 80p to 996.
had another good day ahead of earnings figures released on Tuesday, putting on 52.5p to 819. Among the mid-caps, FTSE 100 tech favorites
returned firmly to favor. Baltimore put on 67.5p to 629, while Psion gained 62p to 772.
Media stocks are also in the limelight following regulatory approval of a merger between
United News and Media
, subject to certain disposals, while also giving
the green light to buy either of the two. Confused? You should be. United closed down 13p at 885, while Carlton shed 56p to 770. In the meantime, Granada gained 21p to 638, while its Granada Media offshoot put on 29p to 600.25.
also rang up an impressive 176p gain to
26.38 on reports that it is to announce a joint venture with mobile phone operator
to swap wholesale capacity between their fixed and wireless networks. Energis was unfazed, despite Orange having declined to comment on the deal.
Brokers say that the telecom sector generally looks to be in better health. Today the reason is that analysts now believe that the third generation European mobile licenses, which will allow operators to offer more complete mobile connectivity, will not prove anywhere near as expensive as previously expected. Of course, this could all change by next week, but for the moment the mood is positive. Even while
climbed 12p to 902, and while
Cable & Wireless
closed 3p higher at
climbed 174p to
seriously lagged behind, closing down 0.5p to 306.5.
fell on fears that President Bill Clinton wants to introduce price curbs on drug companies before he checks out of the Oval Office for good. SmithKline Beecham ended 40.5p lower at 828.5, while Glaxo fell 89p to
followed suit with a loss of 63p at
Most of Europe's other stock markets ended in positive territory Friday, although things remained quiet with Paris closed in observance of Bastille Day. Late in the German trading day, the
in Frankfurt was up 119.6, or 1.7%, at 7,315.5 and the Neuer Markt's tech-heavy
index was up 170.4, or 2.9%, at 6,136.2.
In Germany, financial stocks were the day's biggest gainers, profiting from the passage of a major tax reform package by the upper house of parliament. Among many changes, firms will now not have to pay a 50% tax when they sell large stakes of other companies.
jumped 2.89 euros, or 6.8%, at 45.49 ($42.62),
was 1.35 euros higher, or 3.6%, at 38.50 and insurer
surged 24.01 euros, or 6.5%, to 393.50.
Big German techs were also in positive territory, as
rose 0.60 euros, or 0.3% to 180.60,
was up 6.32 euros, or 5.5%, at 122.32 and
was 4.01 euros higher, or 5%, at 84.41.
rose 0.13 euros, or 0.2%, to 59.48 and
was up 0.04 euros, or 0.2%, at 25.10.