LONDON -- Overall, the U.K. markets looked to be in a very upbeat mood Monday. Midday, the
was 47.8 points higher at 6341.9, while the
shrugged off the plunge by the
Nasdaq Composite Index
on Friday, rising 39.79 points to 3774.64.
Telecoms stocks were in focus, as the start of the year's final quarter rolled around. Residential cable services supplier
was one of the session's biggest gainers following reports that it is to merge with cable operator
. TeleWest shares rose 6% to 140p ($2.06) on the back of the rumors.
Other telecom stocks also seemed to be back in favor.
rang up a healthy 23p gain to 734, as the market reacts to press reports of the early departure of its chairman Sir Iain Vallance, and the subsequent corporate denial.
Fellow telco giant
added just 1.25p to 253.75, while
Cable & Wireless
rose 18p to 983.
Both banks and oils backed up the telcos and lent support to the main index.
rose for the fifth consecutive session, the bank's shares gaining 28p to stand at 19.00, the highest price in eight months. Fellow global bank
notched up 8p to 970, while
-- whose shares have enjoyed a good run of late -- firmed, gaining 7p to 992.
Oil stocks are very much in demand, recovering some of the losses incurred since
release of emergency stockpiles.
, the second most heavily weighted stock on the index, added 9p to 611, while
rose 10p to 561.
Europe's other major stock markets were also higher Monday, as the
in Paris was up 73.4 at 6339.9 and the
in Frankfurt was up 69.2 at 6867.3. The Neuer Markt's tech-heavy
index was 56.2 higher at 5252.2.
Telecoms were in positive territory, as
climbed 2.10 euros to 123.50 ($109.04), after announcing it plans to float a wireless unit, Orange, by Christmas.
rose 0.91 euros to 39.88 and
was up 0.58 euros at 23.03.
Paris-listed network services outfit
fell 0.25 euros to 41.00 and Germany's
rose 1.10 euros to 147.10.
French oil company
rose 1.90 euros to 169.20.