CCF led banks' gains on reports that the Italian San Paolo bank was considering taking a 20-25 per cent stake in it, traders said. CCF closed up 3.71 per cent while BNP ended up 4.07 per cent. Rhone-Poulenc provided the other big merger buzz.
BANK STOCKS again supported Paris blue-chips as the CAC-40 index ended 0.27 per cent, or 10.46 points, higher at 3,849.84. Volume was weaker than previous sessions as investors worried whether Wall Street's recent rally could be sustained.