LONDON -- Europe's markets got a lift on Monday from wireless stocks, which rose on news that the Italian auction for third-generation mobile-phone licenses had ended after only two days.
failed to agree to terms with its partners in the Italian mobile-phone consortium
about taking on more of the costs associated with the venture. As a result Blu pulled out, ending the auction and resulting in bids totaling only $10 billion, far below expectations of over $20 billion.
BT shares initially rose on the news, but investors are so down on this telco that any rise is sold into and it finished 1.1% lower at 707 pence ($10.25). BT's legion of critics pointed out that Blu's departure is yet another example of the company's poor management.
recovered from an early dip to finish the session 1.8% to the good at 281. Investors are clearly delighted that the company picked up a licensce at such an unexpected discount.
On the continent,
closed up 5.4% at 113.50 euros ($95.56) and
rose 1.9% to 21.86 euros.
Although not part of the Italian auction,
rose 5.7% to 40.50 euros on speculation about consolidating the firm's control of its Internet unit
, which fell 1.6%, to 22.74 euros.
The result was that the
closed up 0.6% at 6310, the
in Paris ended up 0.7% at 6193 and the
in Frankfurt was just in the black, up 3.6 points at 6622 late in the German trading. The Neuer Markt's tech-heavy
index was largely unchanged at 4606.
In London, those telecom stocks not involved in the auction performed poorly.
closed 3.9% lower at 490p, shrugging off a positive note from
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
. The broker highlighted the telecom services group as a key player and reiterated its "strong buy" recommendation.
Cable & Wireless'
deal with Internet security firm
fell on deaf ears. The shares closed 1.6% lower at 861. Baltimore closed 1.1% lower at 519.
closed down 0.7% at 3426.43. The larger tech stocks suffered the most and were among the biggest losers on the FTSE 100. Leading the way, was
, which dropped 2.7% to
25.00. The company has lost more than 40% of its value since the beginning of September.
was sold after it announced that investors, including management, were selling more than
130 million worth of shares. The shares closed 11.2% lower at 266.5.
had a poor session despite a couple of upbeat broker notes. The shares closed almost 3% lower at
12.72. This may just be profit-taking after the stock's recent strong run, but there is some talk going around that
, arguably Reuters' only credible competitor, is up for sale.
The buzz is that the eponymous Mike Bloomberg is now ready to cash in on his company to fund his political ambitions. Talk is that Canada's
, owner of
, is looking to raise funds to buy Bloomberg out. However, as Thomson is also said to be running the rule over U.S. educational publishers
, the company may well have its hands full.
On the continent, techs had a mixed day, as French chipmaker
rose 0.20 euros, or 0.4%, to 59.45,
fell 1.08 euros, or 1.2%, to 88.00 and
dropped 2.45 euros, or 6.9%, to 33.00.