European Closing Update: Markets Mixed Before Cisco

ECB intervenes to prop up euro yet again, but with limited success.
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LONDON -- There was a lot of news out on Monday, including earnings and another round of euro intervention by the European Central Bank, but investors showed little appetite to get involved before Cisco's earnings come out later this evening.

The

FTSE 100

ended up 46 points, or 0.7%, to 6,431, but around half of those gains came at the end of day, when 68 of the index's stocks rose from some late buying. The

Techmark 100

was little changed, closing just 0.87 points lower at 3,499.

The ECB said that it intervened for the third time in two trading days to boost the value of the euro. Like Friday's interventions, the ECB acted alone, without help from the U.S. or Japan. Alas, it didn't do much for the euro -- it rose by about 1 cent to $0.8720 before falling back again to trade around 0.8673.

Overall, traders said there has been some aggressive selling from big funds over the past few sessions.

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

, specifically, has felt the pressure, if only because its weighting in the FTSE 100 makes it the perfect basket-trading stock. Vodafone closed down 10p, or 4%, at 243 ($3.47), enough to wipe 27 points off the blue-chip index.

British Airways

(BAB) - Get Report

was one stock that stood out. The shares took off after the release of pleasing interims, which revealed increasing margins and news that it was about to spin off its

Go

no-frills subsidiary. The shares rose 21p, or 6.4%, to 351, topping the FTSE 100 leaderboard.

Pharmaceutical stocks rose on what many are now seeing as a "win-win" situation in the U.S. presidential election. If Al "the Bore" Gore wins, he has pledged to increase health care spending, although the threat of allowing cheap imported drugs could weigh on the sector. On the other hand, if George "Dubya" Bush wins, he would likely allow the big pharms to cash in on their patents for a little longer.

AstraZeneca

added 160p, or 5.1%, to

33.20, while

Glaxo Wellcome

(GLX)

put on 38p, or 1.9%, to

20.35.

Shire Pharmaceuticals

rose to a historic high of

15, before closing 47p better, or 3.3%, at

14.80.

Tech stocks were largely on the back foot ahead of many earnings results due this week. But

Psion

fell 24p, or 5.6%, to 404.5, despite announcing the timing of the rollout of its

Symbian

wireless Internet platform. Normally, what is good news for Symbian -- a joint venture with

Nokia

,

Ericsson

,

Matsushita

and

Motorola

-- is good for Psion, but not today.

Oil and exploration company

Lasmo

gushed 24.1% to an annual high of 175p after agreeing to a cash-and-share takeover bid from

Amerada Hess

(AHC) - Get Report

. Traders say that Lasmo's net asset value is around 135p, while the deal values its shares at 180p.

Most of Europe's other stock markets ended lower, despite early support garnered from the intervention by the ECB to prop up the euro. The

CAC 40

in Paris closed down 46.7 points, or 0.7%, at 6,352.2 and the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was off 5.9, or 0.1%, at 7,122.4 late in German trading. The Neuer Markt's tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index was down 33.8, or 0.7%, at 4,647.8.

Big German blue-chip techs were mixed, as

Infineon

(IFX)

rose 1.38 euros, or 2.6%, to 54.38 ($47.19) and

Siemens

(SMWAY)

fell 1.97 euros, or 1.3%, to 153.03.

Major European telcos also went their own ways, as

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

rose 0.07 euros, or 0.2%, to 41.30 euros,

France Telecom

(FTE)

closed down 1.80 euros, or 1.5%, at 120 euros and

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

rose 0.19 euros, or 0.8%, to 29.74.

Paris-listed network provider

Equant

(ENT) - Get Report

surged 1.27 euros, or 3.3%, to 39.27, ahead of the release of the company's quarterly earnings.