Footsie edges nearer 6,000 mark

The FTSE-100 Index is within a whisker of the 6,000 barrier as technology and telecoms stocks boost the London market by 57.1 points.

The FTSE-100 Index is within a whisker of the 6,000 barrier as technology and telecoms stocks boost the London market by 57.1 points.

The Footsie now stands at 5988.4, led by Vodafone's 6% rise.It's now up 11p at 200¾p.

Telewest Communications is also ahead 8¼p at 137p while Cable & Wireless has jumped 41p to 736p and BT has risen 25½p to 585p. Telecom equipment groups on the rise include Spirent, up 37½p at 455p and Marconi up 20½p at 505½p.

And among the tech risers is chip designer Arm, soaring 14% ahead, up 47½p at 382p, while computer services group CMG has risen 43p to 820p and software group Misys has jumped 35p to 635p.

Software group Autonomy, which is tipped to be relegated from the FTSE-100 after tomorrow's review by FTSE, has risen more than 10%, or 128p at £13.80.

However as techs surged, old economy stocks including banks have suffered.

Many banks are on the backfoot after the Competition Commission announced preliminary findings of a study which indicates competition is restricted in the small business sector.

Bank of Scotland has fallen 22p to 732p, Barclays is 39p down at £21.69, Royal Bank of Scotland is off 29p at £16.46 and Alliance & Leicester is down 10p at 675p.

Other fallers include aero-engines maker Rolls-Royce, off 6½p at 215p, drinks giant Diageo, down 26p at 694p and consumer products group Unilever, 8p lighter at 524p.

Aviation group BBA has also had a tough session - falling 20% after showing a weakening in demand at its materials technology arm. Shares are off 72¼p at 287¾p.

Insurance company Independent Insurance is suffering after reporting a 42% dive in operating profits. Shares slipped 5%, off 15p at 261p.

And telecoms firm Energis is 18p lighter at 424p despite a trading statement which showed its performance in line with City hopes.

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