LONDON -- It was largely a case of "steady as she goes" for London's equities Friday, as the market seemed to hold its breath ahead of the U.S. employment report. The
was 4.2 points higher at 6386.2, while the
shrugged off the latest plunge in the
Nasdaq Composite Index
to stand 4.72 points higher at 3734.74.
There was robust trade in
, which plunged to its lowest level in two years as it fell to 670p ($9.77). A trader at a prominent European house summed it up when he says there is little chance of BT recovering until it makes some wholesale changes to its board.
Fellow telecom giant
handed back some of Thursday's impressive gains as it eased to 259.25p, a fall of 4.25p.
The two oil majors motored higher as front month Brent futures moved back above $30.
added 11.5p to 609, while
put on 14.5p to 580.5.
IT services group
was the stand-out stock among what many perceive to be the torrid technology sector. The stock basked in the glow of
bullish reaction to its acquisition of German IT services firm
. Leading the charge on the FTSE 100, the shares climbed 6% to
Following close behind Logica is telecom equipment supplier
, whose stock soared 3.7% higher at 954p as investors warmly welcomed this morning's upbeat trading statement and news that it intends to list on Nasdaq.
But tech stocks don't have it all their own way. Ever-volatile
plunged 4.3% to 220, amid persistent worries over the ISP market. Poor figures from Wanadoo, the French ISP, added to speculation that its considering a bid for Mobilcom's portal Freenet.de weigh on Freeserve. Freenet denied the rumor, but it was enough to leave Freeserve feeling alone and unloved.
Europe's other major stock markets were also mostly treading water Friday, as the
in Paris was 6.4 at 6341.5 and the
in Frankfurt was down 2.1 at 6890.4. The Neuer Markt's tech-heavy
index, however, was 140.3 lower at 4859.9.
That broader tech weakness largely had little effect on Germany's blue-chips in the sector, however.
rose 1.75 euros to 148.55 ($129.86) and
was up 2.00 euros at 260.00. Only chipmaker
fell 1.47 euros to 54.95.
Telecom shares were lower across the region, however, as
fell 2.00 euros to 118.00,
was off 0.59 euros at 39.57 and
was down 0.06 euros at 23.64.
Carmakers were mixed, as
fell 0.14 euros to 56.16 and
rose 0.29 euros to 51.00.