European Midday Update: Markets Start Off Week in Positive Territory - TheStreet

LONDON -- Overall, the U.K. markets looked to be in a very upbeat mood Monday. Midday, the

FTSE 100

was 47.8 points higher at 6341.9, while the

techMARK 100

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

TeleWest Communications

(TWSTY)

was one of the session's biggest gainers following reports that it is to merge with cable operator

NTL

. TeleWest shares rose 6% to 140p ($2.06) on the back of the rumors.

Other telecom stocks also seemed to be back in favor.

British Telecom

(BTY)

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

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

added just 1.25p to 253.75, while

Cable & Wireless

(CWP)

rose 18p to 983.

Both banks and oils backed up the telcos and lent support to the main index.

Barclays

(BCS) - Get Report

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

HSBC

(HBC)

notched up 8p to 970, while

Standard Chartered

-- 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

President Clinton's

release of emergency stockpiles.

BP

(BP) - Get Report

, the second most heavily weighted stock on the index, added 9p to 611, while

Shell

(SC) - Get Report

rose 10p to 561.

Europe's other major stock markets were also higher Monday, as the

CAC-40

in Paris was up 73.4 at 6339.9 and the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was up 69.2 at 6867.3. The Neuer Markt's tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index was 56.2 higher at 5252.2.

Telecoms were in positive territory, as

France Telecom

(FTE)

climbed 2.10 euros to 123.50 ($109.04), after announcing it plans to float a wireless unit, Orange, by Christmas.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

rose 0.91 euros to 39.88 and

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

was up 0.58 euros at 23.03.

Paris-listed network services outfit

Equant

(ENT) - Get Report

fell 0.25 euros to 41.00 and Germany's

Siemens

rose 1.10 euros to 147.10.

French oil company

TotalFinaElf

(TOT) - Get Report

rose 1.90 euros to 169.20.