LONDON -- The early, near 100-point gain in London this morning disappeared in a puff of smoke as investors checked to see whether alarms were going off in Wall Street.
Although there wasn't any actual outbreak of fire in the U.S., with the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
firm by the London close, investors decided that outside looked a lot less hot than inside, and it's better to be safe than sorry.
ended 21.20 points, or 0.3%, higher at 6,289.70, as strong gains in the media sector all but vanished.
was riding higher at 15.75 pounds this morning but closed down 58.5, or 4.1%, at 13.81 pounds, while
totally erased a 139p gain to end unchanged at 20.92 pounds.
The sector overheated this morning as
, which announced record profits for the fourth quarter of this morning, admitted it has had discussions with Rupert Murdoch's men-in-black about some kind of tie-up. Nokia shares climbed 5.48, or 3%, to 188.50 euros.
is happily stacking bricks but someone has stolen the cement, with bid target
Blue Circle Industries
rejecting its offer as "clearly opportunistic and under prepared". BCI closed up 23.5p, or 5.7%, to 443.
Still on the building site, someone shouted "Timber!" this morning as
was lumbered with an agreed offer from those Frenchmen again,
. Meyer jumped 75.5p, or 17.7%, to 502.
, not content with bidding for
and getting into bed with
, announced an alliance with
. Their new product does just about everything Internet related, except make toast, according to Vodafone. Vodafone gained 21.5p, or 6.4%, to 360.
Reports that Vodafone may offer Mannesmann an extra amount, though not 50%, of a merged company should the German telecom accept Vodafone's hostile takeover bid also helped both stocks. Mannesmann closed 16.05 higher, or 5.7%, to 296.30 euros.
Is it going to be a Valentine Day's massacre for one or the other of the Scottish banks? Feb. 14 is the day when
finds out whether it remains independent or is renamed NatMcWest. The protagonists are currently not finding favor with investors.
Royal Bank of Scotland
lost 31p, or 3.1%, to 971,
Bank of Scotland
ended 21.5p, or 3.5%, lower at 598.5, while NatWest dipped 18p to 11.70 pounds.
The continent made solid gains, although some investors were held back by worries over the
Federal Open Market Committee
European Central Bank
meetings this week. The
in Frankfurt closed up 214.86, or 3.14%, at 7050.46 and the
in Paris finished 113.61 higher, or 2%, at 5773.42.
Technology shares led the way in Frankfurt, as both business software maker
closed up 29.50, or 3.8%, at 813. Shares of leading e-commerce software maker
jumped 25, or 8.5%, to 320 euros in Frankfurt, after investors shrugged off the firm's increasing losses and focused instead on the company's surging fourth-quarter revenues.
Other telecom shares tagged along for the ride and were also able to finish the session higher.
rose 5.60, or 8%, to 75 euros and
closed 4.3 higher, or 3.25%, to 136.80 euros.