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European Closing Update: Most Shrug off ECB Rate Hike to End Higher

Telecom and tech stocks rally strongly in London.
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LONDON -- Most of Europe's markets shrugged off the expected interest rate hike of quarter of a percentage point by the European Central Bank to end higher.


FTSE 100

added 57 points, or 0.9%, to close at a five-month high of 6,672 and the

Techmark 100

closed 162 points higher, or 4.1%, at 4,119.75. Traders reported a buying spree right across the technology, media and telecom sector as money managers took some of their cash and in a bid to beat the autumn rush plunged into any tech stock that looked undervalued after the recent five-month struggle.

In the telecom sector, investors threw money into

Colt Telecom


, which topped the FTSE 100 biggest percentage gainers list with an 18.3% climb of 359p to close at

23.20 ($33.64). Colt was run a close second in the list by cable operator



, which rose 23p, or 15.4%, to 171, amid persistent takeover speculation.



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took fourth spot among the FTSE risers, leaping 66p, or 11.7%, to 629.

The big boys also marched higher, with

British Telecom


notching up a 24p rise, or 2.8%, to close at 875, while


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gained 5.5p, or 2.0%, to stand at 278.25 in heavy trading.

Shares in tech superstars

ARM Holdings



Bookham Technology


also stood out. Arm was the FTSE 100's fifth biggest gainer with a 10.2% jump, to close up 85p to 920. Not to be outdone, Bookham added 275p, or 7.1%, to finish the day at 4135.

Most of Europe's Continental stock markets finished higher. Late in the German session, the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was up 49.4, or 0.7%, at 7,235.0 and the Neuer Markt's tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index was 166.5 higher, or 2.8%, at 6,114.7. The

CAC 40

in Paris, however, closed down 9.20, or 0.1%, at 6,625.4

German techs rallied as ISP


climbed 1.90 euros, or 6.8%, to 30.00 ($26.79), after reporting surging first-half sales.



rose 4.65 euros, or 2.6%, to 181.00,


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was up 6.45 euros, or 6%, at 115.25 and software maker


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was 14.86 euros higher, or 5.5%, at 286.51.

Telecoms were mixed, with

Deutsche Telekom

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up 0.14 euros, or 0.3%, at 43.55,

France Telecom


ending down 0.50 euros, or 0.4%, at 128.50,


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finishing down 0.03 euros, or 0.1%, at 21.60.

German utility



fell 1.82 euros, or 3.3%, to 55.83, as speculation once again surfaced the company might merge with French counterpart

Suez Lyonnais

, which tanked 7.90 euros, or 4.5%, to 166.90.

Elsewhere in Paris, oil company


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fell 6.50 euros, or 3.7%, to 167.10, after being downgraded by Schroder Salomon Smith Barney.