LONDON -- An overwrought
toiled away for most of the session as it tried to make sense of conflicting signals from Wall Street. At one point it fell to a session low of 6,240.5, but it recovered a degree of poise to close 17.1 points lower at 6,247.70.
put in a respectable performance as a degree of sanity returned to the giddy tech sector following the recent indiscriminate sell-off. The index eventually closed 25.75 points higher at 3,618.88.
The crisis in the Middle East, combined with forecasts of a cold winter in Europe and the United States., helped to drive energy prices higher. The rising cost of crude oil boosted
. BP rose 16p to close at 626.5 ($9.07). Meanwhile Shell added 11.5p to 581.5, boosted by news that it is to buy New Zealand's
Fletcher Challenge Energy
1.3 billion together with
In the tech sector, IT services and software stocks gained ground.
notched up a 2.6% gain to close at 695.5p. Meanwhile, its peer
attracted what little cash was around to end the session 23p higher at
Chip stocks gained across the board.
( ARMHY) gained 14p to 686, while its smaller brother
climbed 4.5p to 267.5. Elsewhere, market new boy
advanced 5p to end the day at 346.5p.
Internet stocks headed north, as investors anticipated good numbers from
later this evening.
surged 10% to 38.5p, while
reached a session high of 221.75 before falling back to close 0.75p lower at 210.25p.
The two telecom heavyweights,
( BTY) diverged once again. Vodafone, the index's biggest stock, remained in favor and closed 6p higher at 249. In contrast, disgruntled retail investors dumped BT in the absence of any news of a break up. BT shares closed 8.5p lower at 727.5.
Elsewhere in the sector,
( ENGSY) benefited from an upgrade from
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
. The broker retained its "strong buy" recommendation and price target of 750p. Energis closed 7p higher at 444. Meanwhile,
( COLT) attracted enough investors to finish the day 5p to the good at
Europe's other major stock markets ended mixed Tuesday, as the
in Paris closed up 33.2, or 0.5%, at 6,143.3 and the
in Frankfurt was down 13.2, or 0.2%, at 6,667.6 late in the German trading day. The Neuer Markt's tech-heavy
index was 64.1 lower, or 1.4%, at 4,481.1.
( DCX) surged 1.45 euros, or 2.8%, to 53.20 ($46.19), after
Credit Suisse First Boston
rated the company's shares a "buy." Rival
was down 0.40 euros, or 0.7%, at 55.05.
( EON) dropped 0.10 euros, or 0.2%, to 59.50, after the utility said it expected earnings to drop due to falling electricity prices.
Telecom shares were mixed across the Continent, as
fell 5.40 euros, or 5%, to 103.10 amid continuing speculation it will bid for
, which closed up 1.50 euros, or 3.8%, to 41.50.
( DT) was down 0.57 euros, or 1.5%, at 36.94 and
closed up 0.10 euros, or 0.5%, at 22.65.