LONDON -- European stocks headed solidly higher, with banks leading the way in the U.K. and telecom issues sending continental bourses upward.
index closed up 65.4 points, or 1.0%, at 6,441.0. Banks were the rage, after
Bank of Scotland
upped its bid for
to 24.3 billion pounds. NatWest rose 49p, or 4.0%, to 12.83 pounds, while Bank of Scotland was up 17p, or 2.7%, to 678.
Royal Bank of Scotland
-- which is also eyeing NatWest, was up 20p, 1.9%, to 10.55 pounds. Other financials also rose -- despite persistent rate worries. Mortgage banks
up 17p, or 3.0%, at 569, and
closing at 800, up 23p or 3.0%.
Cable & Wireless
provided an early feature, but its gains were trimmed to just 18p, or 1.4%, at 13.38 pounds. Even so, the rumors continue to keep the stock in positive ground, and
remains the market's favorite to make a play.
The speculation was boosted by news that
would take complete control of a floundering joint venture between
and Deutsche. This pushed the shares of both former state-run monopolies higher. France closed up 7.10, or 5.6%, at 135 euros and Deutsche finished 4.8 higher, or 6.8%, at 75.50 euros.
shrugged off early weakness after revealing interim earnings below expectations, and reversed gear after the market looked up "goodwill amortization" in the investor's dictionary, while simultaneously warming to a strong buy recommendation from
Warburg Dillon Read
and a price target of 11 pounds. The shares ended 88p, or 11.1%, better at 879.
Europe's continental bourses posted broad gains Thursday in considerable volatility. After erasing early gains by midday, the
in Frankfurt was able to power ahead to close up 156.76, or 2.3%, at 7126.13. The
in Paris closed up 42, or 0.7%, at 5688.35.
Traders complained of a hectic session, caused mainly by the considerable amount of news and rumors emerging. Poor dears.
first became a topic of discussion on the trading floor after it was announced U.S. co-Chairman Robert Eaton was leaving the company solely in the hands of his German counterpart, Juergen Schrempp. Later on, however, interest shifted to Italian newspaper reports claiming DaimlerChrysler and
were in advanced merger talks. Even though both firms declined to confirm the speculation, DaimlerChrysler ended up 2.75, or 4.1%, at 69.85 euros and in Milan Fiat surged 1.5, or 5.4%, to 29.25 euros.
In Frankfurt, technology darlings
were both able to book solid gains on the day. Software maker SAP finished up 54.10, or 7%, at 833 euros and Siemens surged 7.9, or 5.6%, to 149.90 euros.