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European Closing Update: Markets Break Losing Streak

US PPI data and markets give Europe a boost.
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LONDON -- A combination of factors, including the apparent end to the fuel protests that have almost paralyzed the country, helped the London markets emphatically halt their seven-day losing streak.

The

FTSE 100

ended higher 77 points, or 1.2%, to 6556 and the

Techmark 100

just failed to close above the 4000 level, finishing up 72 points, or 1.8%, at 3993.

London's equity market got off to a good start after Wednesday's gains on the

Nasdaq Composite

. But it was the softer U.S. August producer price index that set the market alight. This sent the U.S. markets soaring, which helped London consolidate its gains. The belief that global rates have peaked is really starting to take hold, and this proved good news for financials. The big banks led the way.

Barclays

(BCS) - Get Report

shot up 21p, or 1.4%, to

17.55 ($24.75),

Lloyds TSB

was up 14p, or 2.3%, to end at 629.

HSBC

(HBC)

closed back above

10.00 as it rose 15p, or 1.5%, to

10.15, while

Standard Chartered

recorded the best performance in the sector as it rose 30.5p higher, or 3.2%, to 994.5.

Telecom stocks were also among the biggest winners of the day. Heavily weighted

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

contributed over 20 points to the FTSE's gain today, the shares headed north by 9.75p, or 3.7%, to 274.

British Telecom

(BTY)

was in the thick of the action as it added 21p, or 2.6%, to 823.

Cable & Wireless

(CWP)

rose 70p, or 2.6%, to

11.75.

Lehman Brothers

reiterated its buy recommendation for

Colt Telecom

(COLTY)

, with a price target of

40. The brokerage sees big potential for the telco when the local loop is unbundled next year. The stock was up 182p, or 8.9%, to

22.28, the biggest gainer of the day.

It wasn't all good news in the market.

BAe Systems

reported an increase in half-year pretax profits to

480 million, from

358 million last year. However, investors grabbed their money and ran as the stock fell 31p, or 7.9%, to 367p, making it the biggest faller of the day in the main index.

Internet security company

TheStreet Recommends

Baltimore Technologies

fell after announcing it is to buy

Content Technologies

, a content security firm, in a

703 million all-share offer. Shares in Baltimore fell 12p, or 1.6%, at 760 in response to the proposed dilution of the stock.

There was a feisty annual general meeting at the

London Stock Exchange

today, as shareholders took the chairman Don Cruickshank and the CEO Gavin Casey to task over the collapse of the merger this week with

Deutsche Boerse

. Shareholders voted with a show of hands not to re-elect Gavin Casey, whose future will be decided by a full ballot later today, but Cruickshank's re-election was passed on a show of hands, although it, too, is subject to a full vote.

Europe's other stock markets also finished higher, as the

CAC 40

in Paris closed up 69.0, or 1.1%, at 6637.9. Late in the German session the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was up 56.4, or 0.8%, at 7062.6. The

Neuer Markt's

tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index was 63.5 higher, or 1.1%, at 6045.9.

Technology shares were able to hold onto early gains, with

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

up 1.06 euros, or 1%, at 104.56 ($89.77),

Siemens

(SMWAY)

up 3.51 euros, or 2%, at 179.00 and software-maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

6.75 euros higher, or 2.5%, at 278.75.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

climbed 0.82 euros, or 2%, to 43.13, as the company's weighting in the Dax was set to increase Monday due to a quarterly index review.

Other telecoms also did well, with

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

ending up 0.90 euros, or 3.8%, at 24.44 and

France Telecom

(FTE)

finishing up 2.60 euros, or 2%, at 129.00.

Elsewhere in Paris,

Alcatel

(ALA)

jumped 6.10 euros, or 7.3%, to 89.90. Missing out on the broad rally, however, was French food group

Danone

(DA)

, which closed down 2.40 euros, or 1.5%, to 159.50 despite reporting climbing profits in the first-half of the year.