LONDON -- Fear about the impact of higher energy costs weighs on the overall market, but it has certainly put a tiger in the tank of the FTSE 100's two heavyweight oil stocks BP ( BPA) and Shell (SC) - Get Report.
BP, the index's second most heavily weighted stock, was up 16p to 656 ($9.18), while Shell spurted 11p higher to 606.
The strength in the oils went a long way to countering the overall weakness evident early in the market. The FTSE 100 has moved nicely off its lows and it now looks as if it will not test the 6400-point level in the short term. By midmorning, the index was up 7 points at 6424.
Investors are keeping a close eye on what is going on in Asia. The fragile confidence in the region took another battering this morning on news that
has pulled out of plans to take over struggling Korean car manufacturer
. This has had a direct impact on
, which fell 26p to 972. Elsewhere among the banks,
was down 36p to
( BTY) had a bit of a roller-coaster session, but the market seems to have decided it likes the news of closer ties with
and a possible merger of its business services operations. The shares were up 15p at 810.
was lifted off its session low of 264p after
Credit Suisse First Boston
reinitiated coverage in the company with a buy recommendation. The broker has set a price target of 350p. Vodafone was off 2.75p at 267.25.
was struggling this morning, down 40 points to 3843. Big name tech company
was down 5.25% to 703p,
( ARMHY) was down 21p to 725, and
( BKHM) fell 105p to
34.45 -- its secondary offering of 18.5 million shares, due later this week, is weighing on the stock.
Europe's Continental bourses were starting off the week in negative territory, as the
in Paris was down 96.3 at 6518.4 and the
in Frankfurt was off 67.7 at 6931.9. The Neuer Markt's tech-heavy
index was 47.1 lower at 6931.9.
Many technology shares were lower following the
Nasdaq Composite Index's
poor finish on Friday.
was down 4.20 euros at 175.70 ($149.79),
fell 1.48 euros to 46.73 and
was 3.00 euros lower at 267.00.
Telecoms were mixed, with
( DT) up 0.02 euros at 43.26,
down 0.53 euros at 24.02 and
off 2.30 euros at 123.80.
Telco equipment maker
( ALA) dropped 3.40 euros to 87.90.
fell 1.29 euros to 46.60, after announcing it would acquire investment bank
for $1.4 billion in stock.