Baring Asset Management
will hit 10,000 within five years. "We are witnessing the fourth and final stage of the longest bull market in history" said Michael Hughes, head of the U.K. Investment Management team.
Unfortunately, the Baring story has failed to filter into the market, and rumors that a major overseas bank took a 2 billion pound hit in the bond market have certainly affected sentiment.
Trading was initially boosted this morning by corporate takeover activity, both actual and rumored, as Footsie traded up 40 points within minutes of the opening bell. But the positive mood didn't last long and the index was soon looking at a 77-point loss. It recently traded 63 points lower to 6,261.
It's a shame the
takeover saga is over now, bar the shouting. Vodafone celebrated early this morning, but now appears to be suffering from a massive hangover. Its shares were trading 8p lower to 362, having been down as much as 20 on arbitrage profit-taking. On the other hand,
jumped 210p to 26.70 pounds on speculation that either
, the Dutch group, will make a play now that the Vodafone-Mannesmann deal is done. The rerating of
continues with the price up another 298p to 38.49 pounds amid mounting bid speculation.
, a recent favorite, caught the market's eye as it studies the firm's Internet deal with
. Reuters was up 14p to 10.60 pounds, but has since eased to 10.42 pounds ahead of Tuesday's results.
raised its price target on the stock to 13 pounds from 11.75 after the Equant deal.
Tech stocks were supported by the
strong performance overnight.
gained 127p to 69.87 pounds.
rose 57p to 11.17 pounds and the FTSE
index was recently 1.56% higher at 4,304.86.
Most of the major Continental bourses made modest gains in early trade Friday, as investors digested the aftermath of both the Vodafone-Mannesmann deal and rate hikes by the
European Central Bank
and other national central banks. Midday in Frankfurt, the
was up 19.95 at 7374.21, while the Paris
was 57.77 higher at 6207.44.
Early on, the Dax was held back by losses from its two major telecommunication components,
and Mannesmann. But by midsession DT was down only 0.30 at 83.40 euros and Mannesmann was up 2 at 327.50 euros. Mannesmann's supervisory board is expected to approve the Vodafone deal later this afternoon.
Technology shares in Frankfurt also powered ahead Friday, with software maker
up 8.85 at 808.85 euros and
surging 6.52 to 158.79 euros.
Financial issues, on the other hand, were mostly lower midday following the ECB's decision to raise its main refinancing rate by 0.25% to 3.25%.
was down 2.85 to 80.18 euros,
was off 0.54 to 50.26 euros and
was down 0.10 to 32.90 euros.