Markets on the rise - for now

Analysts see desire to get the markets into high gear again, but situation remains unpredictable

London markets started the day higher, with the prospects good for a fifth straight day of gains after last week's six-month lows. But analysts warned that shares -- technology shares, in particular -- have yet to find a firm footing, and markets are likely to continue their recent wild swings.

The most obvious sign of this ongoing unpredictability: the Nasdaq, which on Tuesday zoomed skywards to post a 6.6 percent gain, erasing much of the 11 percent dive the tech-heavy market has taken since 14 April.

Traders said Nasdaq's gain came from an urge to shake off the gloom of the last few weeks. "Yesterday was widely believed to be a good test of the black Friday lows we saw on 14 April," said Scott Bleier, chief investment strategist at Prime Charter in New York. "And memories are very, very short. There is a tremendous desire to get the great game going again. We've had six months of heady gains on the Nasdaq and six weeks of hell."

London's leading stocks began higher on Wednesday, helped by a bounce in the recently battered market heavyweight Vodafone AirTouch (quote: VOD) and decent results from reporting companies.

The benchmark FTSE 100 traded 40.6 points or 0.7 percent higher at 6,323.6 by 0752 GMT, adding to Tuesday's 41.8 point gain.

Shares in Vodafone, which account for more than 12 percent of the FTSE 100 weighting, rose 2.7 percent to 287 pence, adding 20 points to the index.

Handheld computer maker Psion (quote: PON) saw its shares jump as much as 15 percent after it said Japanese electronics giant Sony had agreed to licence Psion's Symbian software platform for its next-generation wireless devices. "The deal looks very good, it's no wonder their shares are better. But they have more than halved recently," said a senior sales trader at a British brokerage.

Psion is leader of the Symbian alliance, which also includes Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola.

Other companies in focus included the Bank of Scotland, whose shares dropped 2.3 percent despite results showing strong lending and market share growth helping boost annual profits by 14 percent to £1.24bn, in line with analyst forecasts. The bank, which failed earlier this year with a hostile takeover bid for National Westminster Bank, said it booked £54m in exceptional costs related to the bid.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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