FRANKFURT -- Stocks floated higher again this morning, buoyed by waves of liquidity, and by further strength in telecoms and autos.
But the movement higher was tentative, and by midday -- with traders reluctant to buy after already huge gains this week -- most indices had slipped from session highs.
In Frankfurt, the
was up 46 points, or 0.9%, at 5391; in London the
was up 45, or 0.8%, at 6147; and in Paris the
was up 10, or 0.2%, at 4241.
The jubilation from the launch of the euro appears to be dissipating, and attention is slowly turning again to the usual worries: Japan, Brazil, slowing economies, shaky profit outlook.
impeachment trial in the
also is being eyed warily here.
Andreas Kehl, equities sales trader at
in Frankfurt, is a bit edgy about stocks. But he said he remained cautiously bullish, repeating the battle cry heard all week by buyers around Europe: "There is just so much liquidity right now."
In other words, there appears to be strong support below current levels. Support in the form of lots of traders who missed the explosive rally earlier this week. With plenty of cash in hand, these latecomers are poised to spring onto weakness.
Bourses here also were soothed somewhat by Wall Street's late-session bounce yesterday, recovering from early losses to end near flat. Hope here among bulls is for follow-through strength in New York and a strong open. But
futures had slipped from earlier session highs, and were last up only 2.90 points at 1280.70.
The dollar was bid at 111.72 yen and 1.1652 euros, while the U.S. long bond was yielding 5.23%.
reported 1998 pretax earnings up 50%, which sent its shares up 3.7% after the news. But the telecom, already up more than 20% this year and 147% in the last 12 months, fell in a classic case of sell-the-fact. Shares were last down 1.3%.
But, with a few exceptions, hot telecom sector continued to sizzle today, snapped up by buyers hoping for more news of mergers and buyouts.
was up 5.1%,
Cable and Wireless
was up 3.8% and
Colt was up 1.5%.
, which helped trigger telecom fever earlier this week with its attempt to outbid
, was down 0.3% today, but up 9.8% for the week.
was up 1.8%,
up 3.4%, and
up 2.4%. But there were a couple of fender-benders after gains earlier this week:
was down 2.0% and
Banks were widely mixed across Europe, for example, with
up 4.0%, but
Banque Nationale de Paris
, which tanked earlier this week after a profit warning, continued to climb back, today up 3.5%.