LONDON -- The name of the game for U.K. investors on Monday was book-squaring ahead of the budget on Tuesday. The FTSE 100 ended the session up 66.5 points, or 1.1%, at 6,624.5, while the Techmark index of leading technology stocks gained 33.7 points, or 0.7%, to close at 4,877.6.

Financial stocks took a critical report on banking competition in stride and after initial uncertainty, most stocks moved higher.

Barclays

(BCS) - Get Report

ended the session 16p higher, or 1.1%, at 15.19 pounds ($23.85), and

Lloyds TSB

was unchanged at 601.

Standard Chartered

regained momentum after an early fall to close a penny dearer, or 0.2%, at 865, and

HSBC

gave a similar performance after touching a low of 720, ending the session virtually unchanged at 733.5.

In the telecom sector, market heavyweight

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

made steady progress to finish with a gain of 11p, or 2.9%, at 380.5 on a volume of 122 million shares, as once again, institutions readjusted their weightings.

British Telecom

(BTY)

, however, ended the session 19p down, or 1.5%, at 12.21 pounds as speculation arose that BT may put in an exclusive bid worth 2.5 billion pounds for the rights to broadcast English premier league soccer games. Potential competitor

BSkyB

(BSY)

, which won the previous three-year contract with a bid of 600 million pounds, rose 61p, or 3.3%, to 19.09 pounds.

Media stocks returned to favor, with investors picking up quality stocks such as

Pearson

, up 200p, or 9.3%, to 23.52 pounds, and

Reuters

(RTRSY)

, 194p better, or 15.0%, at 14.88 pounds.

Tech stocks were volatile again, although they didn't quite come off the rails.

Baltimore Technologies

dipped 550p, or 5.0%, to 103.50 pounds, and

QXL.com

(QXLC)

fell 145p, or 10.4%, to 12.55 pounds.

On the other hand,

Staffware

made progress to close 162p higher, or 5.7%, at 30.37 pounds, and

ARM Holdings

(ARMHY)

rose 148p, or 3.6%, to 14.22 pounds.

Durlacher Corporation

had its early gain of 200p trimmed to 125p, or 4.7%, at 27.75 pounds.

Most of the continental stock markets closed higher, with the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt finishing up 161.46, or 2.1%, at 7872.38 and the

CAC 40

in Paris 48.23 higher, or 0.8%, at 6352.51.

In Frankfurt, technology and telecom shares were among the day's biggest gainers, with Dax heavyweight

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

climbing 4.80 euros, or 5.6%, to 91.30 ($88.78) and software giant

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

closing up 66.50 euros, or 7.4%, at 967.50.

Siemens

(SMAWY)

finished 15.25 euros higher, or 9.5%, at 175.24 after announcing it was acquiring Robert Bosch's mobile phone unit and would cooperate with Mannesmann auto electronics operations.

Carmaker

BMW

was up 0.71 euros, or 2.4%, to 30.70 amid speculation the company may itself be taken over after selling off its troubled Rover unit. Other automobile makers finished lower, with

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

off 1.39 euros, or 2%, at 67.65 and

Volkswagen

(VLKAY)

down 0.13 euros, or 0.3%, at 43.86.

On other parts of the Continent, consolidation hopes helped push telecoms higher.

France Telecom

(FTE)

closed up 5.20 euros, or 2.8%, at 192.20 after apparently expressing interest in Germany's

MobilCom

and

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

ended 1.03 euros higher, or 3.8%, at 28.53 on speculation that British Telecom wants to takeover the Spanish company.