European Midday Update: Continental Bourses Recover After ECB Rate Rise - TheStreet

European Midday Update: Continental Bourses Recover After ECB Rate Rise

Tech stocks give London indices a boost.
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LONDON -- Convincing performances by technology stocks lifted the U.K. markets higher, but the Continental markets had to recover from a setback after the

European Central Bank's

decision to raise interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point to 4.5%.

The

FTSE 100

struggled to break free to embark on its bull run, and by midday stood 10 points up at 6625.10. A panoply of tech stocks pushed the

Techmark 100

to levels not seen since the sector slumped in April; the index was 72.18 points higher to 4029.4.

Leading the charge was

Redstone Telecom

, up 15% to 246.5, while cable operator

Telewest

(TWSTY)

rose 11p to 160 as speculation about a possible bid continues.

Energis

(ENGSY)

rose sharply, up 17.5p to 580.5, as did

Colt Telecom

(COLT)

, up 128p to

20.89.

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

, though, was down 1.75p to 271.

Internet stocks rallied following positive noises for

Amazon

(AMZN) - Get Report

and

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

across the pond overnight. Online auctioneer

QXL

(QXLC)

was the FTSE 250's biggest riser, up 7p to 58, while

Scoot.com

, which announced a 56% drop in profits for the last quarter, climbed 5p to stand at 129.5. Even

Freeserve

(FREE)

added 9.4% to stand at 261.5p as takeover rumors persist.

BSkyB

(BSY)

was volatile as the share price of Europe's second-biggest pay-TV operator fell as low as

10.79 in heavy trading, but by midday was only 38p down at

11.30. The activity was prompted by confirmation that

KirchPayTV

, Germany's biggest pay-television company, will sell its 3.1% stake, or 58 million shares, at

10.25 each, a 12% discount to Wednesday's close. The large discount surprised analysts because BSkyB is well positioned in the digital TV market.

In the pharmaceutical sector, shares in

SmithKline Beecham

(SBH) - Get Report

were boosted by news that it will sell Kytril, its drug for cancer treatment side effects, to

Roche

upon completion of its merger with

Glaxo Wellcome

(GLX)

. SmithKline shares reached a session high of 901.5p before settling back to stand 2p down at 883. Glaxo was up 5p to

19.55.

Most of Europe's Continental stock markets managed to climb higher after slipping in the run up to the ECB's decision. Midday, the

CAC 40

in Paris was up 8.17 to 6642.79 and the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was up 39.43 to 7224.99. The

Neuer Markt's

tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index was 47.2 higher to 5995.5.

German tech stocks gained support as ISP

T-Online

climbed 1.39 euros, or 5%, to 29.49 ($26.34), after reporting surging first-half sales.

Siemens

rose 1.35 euros to 177.70,

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

gained 1.30 euros to 110.10 and software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

moved 7.65 euros higher to 279.30.

Financial stocks remained pressured before the ECB's move, with

Deutsche Bank

down 1.04 euros to 96.25,

Dresdner Bank

off 0.16 euro to 50.24 and French insurer

AXA

(AXA)

down 3.20 euros to 161.30.