European Markets Update: Midday Telecom Trades Lead Major Bourses Higher - TheStreet

LONDON -- Left to our own devices with no Wall Street to scare the pants off us, it's been a quite pleasant Tuesday morning.

The

FTSE 100

was up 55 points to 6137. However, the real test will be whether investors have courage in their convictions and actually commit funds.

The market has a bid flavor about it.

British Telecom

(BTY)

was up 85p to 11.35 pounds, with the vultures increasingly convinced that recent weakness in the share price will flush out a predator.

Meanwhile,

Abbey National

got the early speculative treatment and gained 46p to 760 before easing back again to stand 14p lower at 700. In the insurance sector,

United Assurance

jumped 46p to 466 as the company agreed to a 445p per-share cash bid from mutual insurer

Royal London

.

Legal & General

, the insurance stock now perceived by many as being the most vulnerable to a takeover bid, edged forward 1.25p to 153, but then slipped back to 150.

It's a pretty busy time on the reporting front with results from

Unilever

(UL) - Get Report

and

BG Group

(BRG) - Get Report

leading off. Both companies responded positively to their respective figures, although

Lehman Brothers

thinks the BG profits were slightly light. Unilever gained 23p to 409 and BG advanced 13p to 324.

Capita

rose 180p to 13.27 pounds after revealing excellent annual results and a tie-up with

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

for e-business educational solutions.

Elsewhere in the techs,

Perpetual

was the morning's star performer with a gain of 250p at 27.87 pounds and

InterX

was up 200p to 28.50 pounds. The

Techmark

index of leading tech stocks rose 6 points to 4876.0.

The major Continental stock markets were higher, led by the tech/telecom alliance. The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was up 96.48 at 7687.01 and the

CAC 40

in Paris was 85.94 higher at 6053.22.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

was up 1.81 euros to 89.30 after finally announcing the sale of part of its cable television network. Although Telekom's largest regional chunk was reportedly sold to U.S. investor Richard Callahan for $2.5 billion, DT still stands to rake in other hefty sums for the rest of the nationwide network. "This is just the first piece to go, too," said a Frankfurt-based trader.

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

in Madrid was up 0.41 euros to 29.19 and in Paris,

France Telecom

(FTE)

was up 2.90 euros to 162. Smaller German telecom

Debitel

surged 4.64 euros to 49.15 after announcing assorted e- and m-commerce deals.

Many Frankfurt blue-chip tech stocks were also able to move higher midsession Tuesday.

Siemens

(SMAWY)

was 4 euros higher at 167 and

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

rose 0.50 euros to 147, but software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

was near unchanged at 870 euros.

And

Lufthansa

(DLAGY)

was able to jump 0.88 euros to 22.18 after a newspaper reported that the airline was considering merging its logistics business with the

Deutsche Post

.