LONDON -- It was a tale of two markets this morning, back to the Old Economy stocks vs. the New Economy stocks dynamic Friday, as investors seemed to want little to do with the established names of the stock market. They were "keeping their powder dry" waiting for the U.S.
producer price index number for June. The
was up 7.4 point midmorning to 6483.1, while the
index of leading technology shares rose 20.7 points to 3471.8.
The morning's headliners were techs, media and telecoms.
continued to climb and was 54p higher to
23.55 ($35.39), while
added 5p to 895.
Best of the bunch in the media sector was
, which gained 8p to
20.59. However, what the sector was really waiting for was news of the regulator's decision whether to allow a merger between
, down 4p to 822, and
United News & Media
, up 2.5p to 900.5, or a possible spoiler bid from
, up 3/4 p to 572.
Among the techs,
was the subject of vague takeover rumors, rising 55p to 755.
moved up 30p to 592, while
gained 20p to 730. However,
encountered further profit-taking in the wake of its recent strong run, dipping 94p to
slid 66p to
18.45 and merger partner
fell 31p to 838 amid increasing concern that controls on drug prices in the U.S. could be implemented.
took a 42p hit to
Europe's other stock markets were in positive territory early Friday, although things remained quiet with Paris closed in observance of Bastille Day. The
in Frankfurt was up 139.2 to 7335.2 and the
index was up 111.8 to 6077.7.
Bank stocks were some of the day's biggest movers, following a report from
were considering a massive pan-European merger with
Banco Santander Central Hispano
. Dresdner was up 2.00 euros to 44.60 ($41.79), Commerzbank was 1.40 euros higher to 38.55, BSCH gained 0.09 euro to 11.24 and Credit Suisse fell 2.50 francs to 211.00 ($127.57). German financial issues were also benefiting from the passage of a major tax reform package by the upper house of parliament.
Major German tech companies were also in positive territory, as
rose 2.70 euros to 182.70,
was up 5.70 euros to 121.70 and
gained 4.29 euros at 84.69.
rose 1.55 euros to 60.90 and
was up 0.04 euro to 25.10.