LONDON -- Compared with Tuesday's remarkable performance in Europe and the U.S., today's activity was decidedly restrained. The mood of unbridled optimism and appetite for bargain hunting had subsided, and markets decided to return to a wait-and-see approach ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting.

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In London, the

FTSE 100

recovered from an early morning stumble to gather a degree of momentum, closing 19 points higher at 6432. The

Techmark 100

closed up 17 points, or 0.5%, at 3194. Europe's other major stock markets were mixed, with the

CAC-40

in Paris ending up 76 points at 6302, and the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt lately down 15 points to 6951 late in the extended trading session.

Telecom stocks set the positive tone in London after

Cable & Wireless

(CWP)

reported that although first-half profits fell 60%, net cash balances could grow to as much as

6 billion ($8.6 billion) by the end of the year. Shares in the company, which has been hard at work transforming itself from a diverse telecom investment trust into a business services group, ended the session 37p higher, or 4.4%, at 887 ($12.54).

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

consolidated Tuesday's impressive gains, ending the session a penny higher at 263.5. Brokerage

Bear Stearns

reiterated its "buy" stance on the stock, while

Schroder Salomon Smith Barney

noted that the balance sheet looked very strong, especially compared with those of its peer group.

Harried Vodafone competitor

British Telecom

(BTY)

slipped into the red, down 21p, or 3.0%, to 677 after announcing that it has bought the remaining 49.1% of Italian network company

INet

for

121 million through a call option.

Elsewhere, alternative carrier

Colt Telecom

(COLT)

closed 56p higher, or 3.2%, at

17.95.

Oils stocks surged on the back of the latest rise in crude prices. News that

Offshore Kazakhstan International Operating Company

will nominate a leader for its latest exploration project, one of the largest oil deposits found in decades, also benefited the two integrated majors.

BP

(BP) - Get Report

rose 12p, or 2.0%, to 603 while

Shell

(SC) - Get Report

rose 13.5p, or 2.4%, to 583.5.

Knowledge-management software maker

Autonomy

(AUTN)

stumbled into the close after roaring all day on the back of reporting that third-quarter pretax profit was $9.2 million, outstripping analysts' forecasts of $3 million to $4 million. The shares retreated from its session high of

34.33 to close down 1.1% at

33.25.

Chip designer

ARC International

also finished lower, down 7p, or 2.5%, to 275.5, after delivering its first set of results since going public. In the three months ended Sept. 30, ARC recorded a pretax loss of

5.3 million on turnover of

3.2 million, which was about in line with expectations.