European Closing Update: Markets Bask in Nokia's Glow - TheStreet

LONDON -- Europe's markets surged as better-then-expected earnings from Nokia (NOK) - Get Report renewed enthusiasm for telecom and technology stocks.

In a peremptory move to calm the market, Nokia moved up its earnings announcement by a week, which showed that pre-tax profit during the third quarter rose 43% to 1.34 billion euros and sales of mobile phones rose 59% to 5.46 billion euros. As if that weren't enough, the world's largest mobile-phone maker said it was heading toward a record-breaking fourth quarter.

Considering some of the gloomy pronouncements from competitors like

Motorola

(MOT)

, the market rejoiced at this news. Nokia surged 9.10 euros, or 26%, to 44.10, dragging up the rest of the market with it.

In London, the

FTSE 100

closed 71 points higher, or 1.2%, at 6,219, but the

Techmark 100

was the undoubted star, posting triple-digit gains to end 116 points, or 3.5%, to the good at 3,331.

Telecom stocks blossomed as investors rotated out of some increasingly expensive-looking defensive sectors, such as utilities.

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

surged to close the session 15.75p higher at 269.

Alternative phone carrier

Energis

(ENGSY)

was on investors' buy lists, closing 45p, or 10.2% , higher at 485p.

Atlantic Telecom

led the gainers on the FTSE 250. The shares surged over 18.7p, or 18.7%, to 206, lifted by the announcement that it had extended an existing agreement with Vodafone.

British Telecom

(BTY)

initially gained sharply when the Blu mobile-phone consortium -- of which BT is a member -- confirmed that it would take part in the Italian auction for third-generation, mobile-phone licenses, which kicked off today. However, BT's shares retreated from their highs as the session drew to a close to end down 10.25p, or 1.5%, to 680.

Today's buying appeared to be as indiscriminate as Wednesday's sell-off. A broad raft of technology-related issues posted gains. IT services and software stocks jockeyed for top positions on the leader-board.

Logica

topped the FTSE 100 gains, finishing 175p, or 10.7%, higher at

18.05.

Internet-security software company

Baltimore Technologies

(BALT)

reversed Wednesday's slump to end up 31p, or 7.0%, at 475.

In the media sector,

Reuters

(RTRSY)

performed strongly ahead of Friday's third-quarter results. A bullish note from

Credit Suisse First Boston

helped: "We expect Reuters to report strong third-quarter growth," says the broker, adding that it is retaining its

14.00 price target and long-term "Buy" stance. Reuters also announced it has appointed Janusch Raft as chairman of its

Instinet Europe

wholly owned subsidiary. The shares rose 10.5% to

12.38.

On the continent it was much the same story. The decision by the

European Central Bank

to leave interest rates on hold no doubt helped. The

CAC 40

in Paris ended up 129.1, or 2.2%, at 6,066.4 and the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was up 114.3, or 1.8%, at 6,597.2 late in the German trading day. The Neuer Markt's tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index was 193.9 higher, or 4.6%, at 4,432.4.

Nokia's results helped its rivals, with

Alcatel

(ALA)

closing up 5.30 euros, or 7.6%, at 74.80 and

Siemens

(SMWAY)

up 7.59 euros, or 5.8%, at 138.34.

Telecoms also benefited.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

rose 1.06 euros, or 2.8%, to 38.26,

France Telecom

(FTE)

closed up 4.80 euros, or 4.9%, at 103.00 euros and

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

surged 1.42 euros, or 7.1%, to 21.25.

On the other side of the results coin, German software maker

SAP

(EPC) - Get Report

tanked 19.05 euros, or 7.8%, to 224.35, after posting its own less-than-thrilling, third-quarter earnings.