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European Closing Update: Stocks Run Higher

Wall Street's good open helped Europe finish in the green. The ECB's decision to stand pat gave an added boost.
Author:

LONDON -- After a session of some indifference, the

FTSE 100

closed 67.2 points, or 1.1%, higher at 6,432.1, helped in part by a solid open on Wall Street. The

Techmark

index of leading technology stocks proved to be no slouch with a gain of 110.4, or 2.07%, to 5,452.7.

While the Footsie has shown only a relatively modest gain, business was brisk and marketmakers were hard pressed to cope with the volume.

Vodafone AirTouch

(

(VOD) - Get Report

) provided a shining example. While the share price edged up just 3p, or 0.7%, to 355, a total of 340 million shares changed hands. Sleepy and out-of-favor supermarket supreme

Tesco

saw 39 million shares change hands, while the price was adjusted a modest 3p, or 1.1%, lower to 183.

While not up featuring in the volume stakes, the tech sector provided the lion's share of the day's more violent movements.

Psion

led the charge with a rise of 795p, or 12.3%, to 72.70 pounds, as investors got excited over its proposed 100 million pound share placing to fund Internet expansion.

Interx

rose 550p, or 18.6%, to 36.25 pounds and

Durlacher Corporation

reversed its recent softer tone with a gain of 260p, or 8.9%, to 33.60 pounds.

Of course, for every investor looking smug in the high-tech/early retirement sector, there is usually one with an unhappy face.

Baltimore Technologies

ended down 250p, or 2.9%, at 117.50 pounds, and

Colt Telecom

(

(COLTY)

TST Recommends

) was 167p lower, or 3.7%, at 39.07 pounds.

European stocks ended the day higher following the

European Central Bank's

decision to keep interest rates steady. The biggest movers were telcos, helped by a number of announcements and reports.

The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt closed up 213.20, or 2.8%, at 7941.13, and the

CAC 40

up 221.25, or 3.5%, at 6477.55.

A

USA Today

report saying that

Deutsche Telekom

(

(DT) - Get Report

) has made a bid for merger partners

Qwest Communications

(Q)

and

US West

(USW)

sent the German telco's shares up 3.14 euros, or 3.4%, to 95.13.

France Telecom

(

(FTE)

) rose 22.3 euro, or 12.8%, to 196.8 after the company announced better-than-expected profits for last year and a plan to float its Internet division and part of its mobile telephone operations ¿ things these days that are always well received.