Frankfurt falls but bourses generally steady


Frankfurt reversed early gains and closed with the Xetra Dax index off 60.76 at 6,931.99. Earlier in the day the benchmark had touched a session high of 7,092.50. The FTSE Eurobloc 100 index improved 0.4 per cent at 1,345.41 and the FTSE Eurotop 100 index added 0.4 per cent at 3,505.78. The FTSE Eurotop 300 index gained 0.5 per cent at 1,523.87.

Siemens helped lift the market during the morning, turning in a powerful run after strong first-quarter results and a raft of broker upgrades for the shares. The electrical conglomerate hit a high of €153.69 but closed €3.65 better at €140.65 in active trading volumes as investors locked in profits.

Paris saw media stocks benefit from news of the Time Warner/EMI link. Canal Plus rose €3.50 to €172.30 and Thomson Multimedia €3.10 to €62.10. Cap Gemini gained €10.80 to €249.8 ahead of tomorrow's results statement. The CAC 40 index rose 9.54 to 5,690.86.

Amsterdam ended 4.06 higher at 645.53 on the AEX index after a strong run for Philips and Royal Dutch. Tracking the renewed surge for US tech shares, the electronics giant rose €3.25 to €53.40. Royal Dutch added €1.73 at €60.56 as Brent Blend, the North Sea marker price for oil, continued to flirt with $27 a barrel. Financials stayed out of favour. Weighed down by interest rate concerns, ABN-Amro shed 36 cents at €21.13 and Aegon €2.10 at €77.90.

Helsinki outperformed other European bourses although trading volumes were modest, with Nokia and small-cap technology stocks leading market gains. The general index closed at 14,722.71, a gain of 318 or 2.2 per cent.

Madrid fell back after earlier progress which dealers had warned would prove a technical rebound. The Ibex 35 main share index shed 14.3 to 10,955.

Milan remained in positive territory, driven again by the telecoms stocks as Telecom Italia hit a record high. The Mibtel index added 185 at 28,765.

Telecom put on 4.8 per cent to close at €16.21, off a high of €16.42.