Europe Closes Higher
European stock markets were higher on Friday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 gained 33.20 points, or 0.68%, to close at 4941.50. The FTSE held onto gains on hopes of mergers and acquisition activity and a strong third-quarter result from British Airways. Wall Street was trading higher at mid-day, helped by bullish comments on semiconductor group from Prudential and Greenspan said market forces poised to stabilize. At home, M&A talk continued to drive the market up. This time it is the turn of Allied Domecq, with French beverage company Pernod Ricard reportedly interested in making a bid. Both companies declined to comment. BA reported third-quarter profits higher than expected. The company also said January passenger numbers moved up 8.1% year-over-year. British Telecom lead the telco sector higher following the completion of its Albacom acquisition, while Vodafone rose 0.73% and Cable & Wireless fell 0.4% after Morgan Stanley recommended a switch into both stocks from Virgin Mobile. Shell was up 2.54% after a number of brokers increase their price targets.
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