LONDON - Power Outage in Heart of Financial District Wednesday : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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European Closing Update: London Power Outage Fails Dampen Market

By TSC Staff

6/14/00 1:37 PM ET

LONDON -- A power failure in the heart of London's financial district left several institutions struggling to trade normally on Wednesday. Undeterred, shares in London finished on a better tone, helped by a positive response in U.S. markets to a weaker-than-expected set of consumer prices.

The FTSE 100 ended 89.2 points higher, or 1.4%, at 6,536.3 and the Techmark closed 26.53 points higher, or 0.8%, at 3,372.94.

There were some horror stories which even a lack of electricity failed to hide. Independent Energy collapsed 770p to 477 ($7.16) -- yes, that is the right way round -- which is a fall of 62.1%. The bottom line is that the company has only sufficient working capital to last until Sept. 29, when its revolving credit facility expires. Oops!

Freeserve (FREE:Nasdaq ADR) was another casualty, losing 27, or 6.2%, to 472p after a sell note from Schroders Salomon Smith Barney.

However, there were some success stories as well. Consumer electronics group Alba jumped 115p, or 18.9%, to 725, boosted by stronger-than-expected pretax profits of 19 million.

Reuters (RTRSY:Nasdaq ADR)was another star performer, rising 77p, or 6.8%, to 11.07, helped by news that it is investing $35 million in Pedestal, an Internet-based secondary mortgage marketplace operator, and also the sale of its minority shareholding in Safetynet.

Europe's other major stock markets were higher, with the CAC 40 in Paris closing up 75.3, or 1.2%, at 6,608.10. Late in the day, the Xetra Dax in Frankfurt was up 82.3, or 1.1%, at 7,351.2 and the Neuer Markt's tech-heavy Nemax 50 index was up 62.6, or 1.1%, at 5,858.6.

The biggest news of the day was that French utilities and media conglomerate Vivendi (VVDIY:LSE) and its 49%-owned pay-TV broadcaster Canal Plus is in talks with Canada's Seagram (VO:NYSE ADR) about a three-way tie-up. The talks are apparently still very much in initial stages, but fears over how much Vivendi will have to pay to secure the deal caused its shares to tank 10.60 euros, or 9.2%, to 105.00 ($100.80). Canal Plus fell 2.00 euros, or 1.0%, to 208.00.

However, pulling up the markets was the performance of telecom equipment makers. Nokia (NOK:NYSE ADR) was up 1.54 euros, or 2.6%, at 61.60, Alcatel (ALA:NYSE ADR) was up 0.15 euro, or 0.2%, at 65.45 and Philips Electronics (PHG:NYSE ADR) was up 2.05 euros, or 4.1%, at 51.75.

In Frankfurt, software maker SAP (SAP:NYSE ADR) soared 41.50 euros, or 7.2%, to 619.00 after it announced that Nestle (NSRGY:Nasdaq ADR) plans to make applications available to all its 230,000 staff.

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-- (, June 15, 2000

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