Logica and eXchange keep Net craze on the boil

SHARES IN Logica, the systems integrator, and eXchange holdings, the Internet financial services group, led their respective FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 indices yesterday as the mania for high-technology stocks continued unabated.

Logica shares soared 15 per cent to 1,697p after the company gave an upbeat trading statement to institutions. Andrew Given, finance director, said Logica expected "strong growth" in the half to December in its mobile networks integration business and continuing improvement in margins.

EXchange holdings, which acts as a business-to-business financial services and information intermediary, topped the FTSE 250 index, rising 22 per cent to 385p after it unveiled a deal with Yahoo!, the Web portal, to provide a range of comparative personal finance services in Britain and Ireland.

Analysts said the update by Logica reaffirmed the company's direction and prospects. "A lot of private investors and fund managers realised they have to invest there," said one trader.

Logica is in demand because telecoms is expanding rapidly, particularly in Internet applications. As telecoms switches from circuit-based to packet switches, there is substantial growth for companies such as Logica.

The financial information services operation from eXchange holdings will be launched in the first quarter of 2000 and will appear on pages co-branded with Yahoo!'s UK and Ireland Finance and moneyeXtra brands.