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LONDON -- Despite Wednesday's decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to maintain its tightening bias, London traders decided to take a sanguine approach Thursday.

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After a very quiet start, the main market pushed higher, and as midday approached the

FTSE 100

was up 47.3 points to 6479.60. Meanwhile, the

Techmark 100

struggled to make headway in either direction and was down 12.21 points to 3182.16.

Generally, it was undeniably a quiet day, so some traders started to focus on


quarterly structural changes to their indices due out Thursday night. They are used by many fund managers to help arrange their portfolios and measure their performance.

Some are speculating that tonight's alterations may have an adverse impact on U.K. telecommunications and health care stocks, as their weighting will be reduced to make way for under represented Spanish telcos and Dutch and Italian pharmaceuticals.

But others point out that if MSCI announces a move toward free-float weighting, which many believe it will do in the near future, U.K. telcos will definitely benefit. This is because the weighting of European incumbents, such as

Deutsche Telekom

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France Telecom

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, will be reduced as the German and French governments still hold large stakes in the companies.

In any event, the FTSE 100's two heavyweights were relatively flat.

British Telecom


relinquished earlier modest gains to stand 1p lower at 676 ($9.65) and


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stood 2.75p higher at 266.25 by midday.


Cable & Wireless


built on Wednesday's gains, rising 32p to stand at 919. In contrast, alternative

Colt Telecom


slid into negative territory, down 35p to


Pharmaceuticals were mixed.


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recovered from its


-induced hangover to stand 44p higher at

32.29. Elsewhere,

Glaxo Wellcome


added 3p to

20.32, while future partner

SmithKline Beecham

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came off by 3.5p to stand at 920.

Most Europe's other major stock markets were lower Thursday, as the

European Central Bank

kept its main interest rate unchanged at 4.75%. The


in Paris was off 64.6 at 6237.2 and the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was down 95.6 to 6865.5. The

Neuer Markt's


Nemax 50

index was 152.8 lower at 3796.2.

Amid continuing fear about its U.S. operations,



weighed heavily on the Dax. The carmaker's shares fell 1.79 euros to 50.65 ($43.42).



dipped 0.90 euro to 57.65.

Drug company



dropped 1.49 euros to 49.76, after the company reported disappointing third-quarter earnings. Rival


fell 0.56 euro to 43.54.

Techs and telcos were also lower, as


(STM) - Get STMicroelectronics N.V. Report

fell 1.45 euros to 52.55,


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dropped 12.31 euros to 200.89 and France Telecom was down 3.40 euros to 112.90.