TMTs surge to lucky 13 top spots on FTSE 100

 

A surge in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) sectors helped the UK stock market maintain the impetus of Friday's rally and leave behind its recent lows.

The top 13 performers in the FTSE 100 index were all TMT stocks, led by software group CMG and the recently-battered telecoms group Energis, both of which enjoyed double-digit gains.

In the UK, there was clearly some hope that tech stocks might have seen their lows, with demand set to pick up in 2002. And in some of the other sectors, there was a feeling that the bad news might now be in the price. Pearson, the media group which owns the Financial Times, saw its shares lose ground in early trading as it mentioned the advertising slowdown; by the end of the session, however, it was one of Footsie's best performers.

The telecoms were led by Vodafone, which continued its rally from its recent lows, and contributed about 22 points to Footsie's gain.

All told, the blue-chip benchmark gained 43.6 to 5,446.7, just under the day's high of 5,456.9. The index has now gained 3 per cent over the last two sessions.

The FTSE 250 index regained the 6,000 level with a rise of 53.5 to 6,026.9, and the Techmark 100 index of leading technology stocks advanced 32.58 to 1,551.63.

But the SmallCap failed to enter the party spirit, closing unchanged at 2,720.6.

The rally was sparked by slender volumes, with the school holidays well under way and a heat wave in London enticing traders and investors from their desks. Just 1.56 billion shares were traded by the 6 p.m. count, with Vodafone and Redstone providing more than a quarter of the volume.

One factor that seems to have engendered a change in mood has been the recent signs of economic weakness, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Analysts now seem less sure that the next move in UK interest rates will be up although they are not hoping for a cut at this week's meeting of the monetary policy committee.