LONDON -- The

FTSE 100

managed to turn a 145-point gain into a 73-point loss before closing 57.4 points lower at 6086.7. Wall Street still appears to be holding the reins as everything went to pot in the latter part of the session; earlier gains were eroded and, in most cases, replaced with net losses.

The jungle drums are beating out a garbled message that those with keen ears are interpreting as a possible bid from

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

or

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

for

British Telecom

(BTY)

. British Telecom's share price told a different story, but if someone makes the connection, remember, you heard it here first. BT ended 66p lower, or 5.7%, at 10.99 pounds.

Even a nice set of figures failed to save investors in such stocks as

Rio Tinto

, which ended the session 74p lower, or 7.0%, at 981, despite encouraging earnings.

Reed International

ended 57p lower, or 9.4%, to 548 despite news of a new Internet strategy.

AstraZeneca

tumbled 215p, or 10.0%, to 19.26 pounds, as the market was concerned that the company may have gone ex-growth on worries that its major product, Losec, may struggle to renew its

FDA

patent.

Colt Telecom

(COLTY)

responded to a sharp rise in gross profits with a gain of 200p, or 5.3%, to 34.47 pounds.

Logica

, still responding to Wednesday's 63% rise in interim profits, gained a further 348p, or 14.0%, to 27.86 pounds. The

Techmark

index of leading tech stocks ended 92.5 points higher at 5090.1.

Europe's continental stock markets ended mixed, as some investors got cold feet after Wall Street opened lower. The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt closed down 58.44, or 0.8%, at 7640.53, but the

CAC 40

in Paris was able to finish 47.53 higher, or 0.8%, at 6078.78.

Although German technology heavyweights helped push the Dax to new highs early on, the market's positive momentum crumbled in the afternoon, taking most of the sector lower.

Electronics giant

Siemens

(SMAWY)

fell 1.11 euros, or 0.6%, to 179.49, and

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

dropped 2 euros, or 1.4%, to 143, while software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

was able to eke out a 2.50-euro gain, or 0.3%, to close at 856.50 after announcing at the CeBIT trade show that it was grounding a new subsidiary for e-business.

Big telecoms were able to still book solid gains, with Deutsche Telekom closing up 2.50 euros, or 2.9%, at 90, Spain's

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

finishing up 0.78 euros, or 2.8%, to 29.16, and

France Telecom

(FTE)

ending 3 euros higher, or 1.8%, at 168.

German utilities, on the other hand, were in negative territory for the entire session.

Veba

(VEB)

closed down 2.60 euros, or 4.9%, at 50.40,

Viag

fell 1.35 euros, or 6.4%, to 19.90, and

RWE

ended 2.45 euros lower, or 6.7%, at 34.06 after presenting disappointing results.