LONDON -- The FTSE 100 recovered from the afternoon dyspepsia to finish the week pretty much where it started. The blue-chip index finished the session 57 points to the good at 6,276.
The day was fraught with peril, however. At one moment, when the FTSE 100 slipped into the red, a positive close looked doubtful. London appears to be in a precarious situation. Markets abhor uncertainty and there's plenty of uncertainty around. The Middle East crisis threatens equity markets worldwide. Then there's the vexed issue of technology earnings. The market's recent excesses have left investors with technology stocks in their portfolios bruised and rather bewildered. But a decisively positive close by the Techmark 100, up 123 points to 3,451, bodes well for next week.
The main index's biggest stock,
bounced on the back of
stunning earnings from Thursday. But it slipped when
released results this morning. Although the earnings story was robust, concerns about future sales growth tarnished Vodafone's shares. Nevertheless, the stock closed 7p higher, or 2.6%, at 276.
held onto its gains to close 35p, or 5.2%, to the good at 715.
Elsewhere in the sector,
enjoyed a storming session to close 137p higher, or 7.4%, at
20.00. As did
Cable & Wireless
, which was boosted by talk that it has struck a deal with Irish Internet-security firm
. C&W shares closed 35p higher, or 4.2%, at 875.
Selected tech stocks remained positive but eased from their highs.
closed 201p higher, or 8.5%, at
advanced 78p, or 9.1%, to 938.
In the media sector,
notched up a 73p gain, or 5.9%, to end the week at
13.11 on the back of better-than-expected third-quarter results. The market was also particularly pleased with the group's confirmation that it is to float a minority stake in
, although Chief Executive Peter Job didn't set a date.
Most of Europe's other stock markets finished Friday higher, as the rebounding
helped Continental technology shares higher. The
in Paris ended up 82.9, or 1.4%, at 6,149.4, but the
in Frankfurt was near unchanged at 6,616.2 late in the trading day as some German blue-chip tech shares refused to pull their weight. The Neuer Markt's tech-heavy
index, however, was 46.0 higher, or 1%, at 4,575.8.
German software maker
was one of the biggest losers on the Dax, down 9.99 euros, or 4.5%, at 214.01 ($180.40). Other techs did their best to offset SAP, as
was up 2.49 euros, or 1.8%, at 142.50 and
rose 3.00 euros, or 3.5%, to 88.00.
rose 0.51 euros, or 1.3%, to 38.76,
closed up 4.60 euros, or 4.5%, at 107.60 euros and
ended up 0.20 euros, or 1%, to 21.45.
In Paris, network provider
surged 2.90 euros, or 8.1%, to 38.70 and chipmaker
rose 2.75 euros, or 4.9%, at 59.25.