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European Closing Update: Europe Caught in Oil and Wall Street Crossfire

Markets fall further in the afternoon as Wall Street opens lower.

LONDON -- Caught in the unforgiving crossfire of rising oil prices and a weakening Wall Street, Europe's markets were sold off heavily in the afternoon.

In London, the

FTSE 100

ended down 124 points, or 1.9%, at 6,280 as first the 6,400-point support level went, swiftly followed by the 6300 level. Technical analyst Ricardo Ronco at

Banca Nazionale Dell Agricoltura

is now very bearish about the market.

"I am really scared because the FTSE has been in a wide trading range of 6,000-6,800 from October 1999 following the Dow and the European markets," he said. "Now maybe something is happening."

It was a dramatic change from earlier in the day when conflicting undercurrents fought for dominance with the FTSE 100 spending a fair bit of the time bouncing uncertainly around 20-30 points or so in the red.

British Telecom's


performance illustrated well the market as a whole. BT bobbed up and down like a cork, before slumping 19p, or 2.4%, at 791p ($11.15).



(VOD) - Get Report

stood on the sidelines for much of the day and then headed south. An announcement that it's to acquire a further 8.5% stake in Spain's


was ignored and the shares closed down 15.75p, or 6.0%, at 247p.

Other telecoms had a shaky session.

Cable & Wireless


fell 46p, or 4.4%, to 994. Speculation continues that it has sold part of its 20% stake in

Pacific Century Cyberworks

, the Internet group that bought C&W's Hong Kong subsidiary.

The biggest loser of the day was easily

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, which plunged 67p, or 11.3%, to 525p following news it plans to raise

400 million through a lightning fast issue of ordinary new shares to be placed at a discount of up to 5% to the share price.

Europe's other major stock markets also finished lower. The

CAC 40

in Paris closed down 85 points, or 1.3%, at 6,445 and late in the German session the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was down 65 points, or 0.9%, at 6,873.

As in London, the falls were broad based. In the banks,


fell 3.00 euros, or 3.0%, at 98.50 ($83.73) and

Deutsche Bank


was down 1.10 euros, or 1.1%, at 95.35, while in tech and telecoms

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

collapsed 1.76 euros, or 4.2%, to 40.40,


(NOK) - Get Report

fell 0.70 euro, or 1.4%, to 50.40 and



was down 2.97 euros, or 1.7%, to 168.84.