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European Midday Update: Wall Street Inspires Europe

Wall Street's further rally helps Europe's markets.
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LONDON -- Market makers here described the market as "very firm, with quite a few buyers on patrol." The

FTSE 100

was up 71.3 to 6145.3 and the

Techmark

index moved 117.18 higher to 3589.6.

The gains, of course, stem directly from Wall Street, which staged a further rally overnight.

The big news this morning was the French building materials group

Lafarge's

increased 450p per share cash offer for the U.K.'s

Blue Circle

. Blue Circle added 3p to 437 (US$6.95) before slipping back to stand unchanged at 434. Blue Circle has rejected the new bid, saying that Lafarge is trying to buy the company on the cheap. However, volume in Blue Circle was 184 million shares, suggesting that there are plenty of people out there willing to take the Lafarge cash.

Cadbury Schweppes

(CSG)

, normally a strong performer around Easter, bucked the trend with a fall of 6p to 407.

The telecom sector continued its revival, with

British Telecom

TheStreet Recommends

(BTY)

rising 25p to

11.55 and

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Vodafone Group Plc Report

, having moved above the 300p level Tuesday, adding 6.5p more to 309.5.

Among media issues,

Pearson

advanced 99p to

20.08 and

Reuters

(RTRSY)

gained 59p to

10.67, with several brokers turning positive on the stock in the wake of Tuesday's encouraging first-quarter figures.

In the tech sector,

Baltimore Technologies

undefined

yet again took the lead, rising 496p to

61.00.

BATM Advanced Communications

advanced 212p to

42.37 and

Psion

gained 230p to

30.08.

Following its five-for-one share split,

ARM Holdings

(ARMHY)

gained 26p to 660, before settling 13p higher at 647. And recent newcomer

Bookham Technology

rose 75p to

23.12.

Dicom

advanced 62p to 867 after the company announced a strategic alliance with

Entegrity Solutions

of the U.S. to develop leading software tools and market Entegrity products through Dicom in Europe and Asia.

BP Amoco

(BPA)

, a dull market Tuesday in the wake of its

Atlantic Richfield

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acquisition, rallied 13p to 519, but Shell slipped 3p to 470.

Europe's other bourses were mixed but mostly higher in early trade Wednesday, with notables the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt down 9.40 to 7187.09 and the

CAC 40

in Paris 9.26 higher to 6156.70.

Software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get SAP SE Report

gained 56.20 euros to 677.20 (US$644.89) despite reporting declining first-quarter income. The company said it expected better sales in the upcoming quarters.

Siemens

(SMAWY)

rose 2.15 euros to 148.10 and

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Edgewell Personal Care Co. Report

was up 1.60 euros to 131.60.

T-Online

climbed 0.19 euro to 39.55.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Dynatrace, Inc. Report

fell 1.60 euros to 71.00, erasing early gains after reporting solid first-quarter results. Other European telcos were mixed, with

France Telecom

(FTE)

down 0.60 euro to 167.00 and

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Telefónica SA Report

up 0.47 euro to 24.54.

Dresdner Bank

(DRSDY)

surged 2.19 euros to 44.50 amid renewed takeover speculation. This time Dutch bank

ABN-AMRO

(ABN)

, which fell 0.04 euro to 22.79, was named as a potential predator.