LONDON -- Activity in the U.K.'s markets on Monday could be described as the calm after the storm.
Nonfinancial events dictated the trend, as Sunday evening's adverse weather conditions sent public transport grinding to a halt across the country, leading to many long weekends and a very quiet day in the city.
leaned toward the red for most of the day but eventually managed to end higher by 22 points to stand at 6388 on pretty thin volumes. The blue-chip index was still looking for direction, as it spent the last month and a half stuck in a narrow 300-point range.
Unsurprisingly, insurance stocks got dumped by investors on worries that the companies would have to foot the bill for the storm damage, which is expected to be considerable
Royal & Sun Alliance
was the worst hit, dropping 16.25p, or 3.3%, to 476p ($6.95).
slid 8p, or 0.8%, to 939, and
Legal & General
closed 3p lower, or 1.5%, at 165 even though it has little exposure to the insurance business.
Oils also slid after
came out with the expected announcement that it would increase production quotas. The organization said it would produce 500,000 more barrels per day starting on Tuesday, with the aim of reducing the price of oil.
fell 4p, or 0.7%, to 548 and
tumbled 9p, or 1.6%, to 548.
, which develops intellectual property for the mobile market, closed down 26p, or 10.7%, at 217.5 on press reports suggesting that palm-top maker
could be entitled to as much as half of the royalty revenues from Parthus' latest chip known as
Parthus could not comment on the reports since it is currently in a quiet period ahead of a secondary offer of shares. However, market sources say the reports are simply inaccurate. Parthus, they say, is entitled to all of the initial upfront license payments from the chip. As for the royalties, they say Parthus will get the lion's share of the revenue, around 80%, while Psion is likely to get a much smaller slice at 15% to 20%.
The big two telecom stocks were behind most of the gain on the main index. Investors showed their approval for the latest ambitions of
, which is to purchase of a stake in
mobile arm. The share price initially rose 2.8% to a two-month high of 291.5p before it settled down to a more modest gain of 4p, or 1.3%, to close at 287p.
After an early dip to a low of 763p,
closed 18p higher, or 2.2%, at 801 after the news that the beleaguered telco could be starting to sort out its mountain of debt through the sale of its stake in French venture
In the media sector,
had an eventful day. The
Wall Street Journal Europe
reported that boss Rupert Murdoch is talking to
about investing $1 billion in his
Sky Global Networks
. The stock flew up 22p on the reports, or 2.3%, to 962.
Europe's other stock markets finished mixed, as the
in Paris ended up 27.9, or 0.5%, at 6296.8 and the
in Frankfurt was off 3.4 at 6921.3 late in German trading. The Neuer Markt's tech-heavy
index was down 41.2, or 0.9%, at 4723.9.
In Paris, the bourse was buoyed by heavyweights
, which ended up 1.60 euros, or 1.3%, to 127.50 ($107.03), and
, which closed up 1.45 euros, or 1.8%, at 82.25.
Ahead of its third-quarter results Tuesday, telecom equipment maker
fell 2.50 euros, or 3.4%, to 71.00 and hurt by failing oil prices,
Total Fina Elf
dropped 1.30 euros, or 0.8%, to 165.10.
fell 1.41 euros, or 3.1%, to 43.70. DT will also report earnings Tuesday.
closed down 0.77 euro, or 3.3%, to 22.45, but the telco's Internet outfit
surged 1.29 euros, or 5%, to 26.99.