LONDON -- The U.K. market was firm ahead of the long weekend, with telecom issues making the most of the running following the conclusion Thursday of bidding for the third-generation mobile phone licenses. Stocks were also helped by weaker-than-expected GDP numbers, which eases the pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates.
rose smartly early on to stand 107.8 points higher at 6287.10 by midmorning, and the
, additionally boosted by the overnight gain in the
, rose 83.2 points to 3594.1.
was 12p higher to 291 (US$4.57), with dealers citing three reasons for the strength of the shares. First, there is relief that the license auction is over and Vodafone was victorious in its battle for the sought-after "B" license. Second, U.S. selling of Vodafone has dried up following the flotation of
. And third, dealers reckon there's going to be a major, and expensive, battle for control of
, which Vodafone has to sell following its takeover of
, having won the "C" license, gained 24 to
11.56. Sentiment was also helped by news of its U.S. Yellow Book subsidiary's expansion move.
Cable & Wireless HKT
added 19p to
10.40 amid continued speculation that
, possibly with the involvement of
, may raise its bid for C&W HKT and leave rival bidder
Pacific Century Cyberworks
floundering. There was also further support for
, which moved up 35p to 805, and
gained 144p to
Among the techs,
led the way with a gain of 474p to
was a fairly close second, 243p higher to
BATM Advanced Communications
rose 187p to
jumped 200p to
20.87 after reporting first-quarter sales some 48% higher at
London Bridge Software
advanced 125p to
31.25 after announcing new agreements with
Europe's other major bourses also were stronger going into the holiday weekend. The
in Frankfurt was up 133.84 to 7355.58, and the
in Paris was up 124.16 to 6372.02.
Tech and telecom stocks were the biggest gainers.
, which fell 6.1% on Thursday, was up 2.20 euros to 71.95 (US$66.20),
was up 8.16 euros to 159.76 and
was up 2.55 to 154.04.
was up 3.00 euros to 165.00 and
was up 0.45 euro to 24.60.