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European Closing Update: Europe Watches and Waits Before Fed Meet

U.K. ISP and portal Freeserve continues its freefall.
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LONDON -- With the

Federal Reserve

meeting looming, European markets displayed all the hallmarks of markets in a hurry to go nowhere.


FTSE 100

finished with a loss of 29.9 points, or 0.5%, at 6,375.3, while the


was equally lifeless, ending largely unchanged at 3,414.90.

Unfortunately for it,



could not escape the attentions of investors. The troubled Internet service provider and portal retreated 45.5p more, or 12.5%, to 319.5 ($4.80), as brokerage downgrades following the collapse in takeover talks with


added to the recent misery. Freeserve shares have now fallen more than 30% over the past four days.

There were a few bright lights in the market nonetheless.

BG Group

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rose 11.5p, or 2.8%, to 422.5 in decent volume ahead of further potential developments of its telecommunications business.

Pharmaceutical and biotech stocks were more rays of sunshine, as investors warmed to the latest advances in mapping the human genome and its potential uses for medicine.

Oxford Glycosciences

rose 77p, or 4.3%, to


Cambridge Antibodies

closed 50p higher, or 1.7%, at

29.50 and

Nycomed Amersham


was up 38p, or 6.1%, at 660. Nycomed benefited from at least two broker recommendations, and brokerage

Teather & Greenwood

has reportedly suggested the stock was a "chart break-out" situation.

Drugmakers also did well, with

Glaxo Wellcome


up 33p, or 1.8%, to

18.78 and

SmithKline Beecham

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up 12p, or 1.4%, at 854.

Europe's other major stock markets were mixed, with the

CAC 40

in Paris down 18.2, or 0.3%, at 6,568.1. Late in the German trading session the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was up 19.6, or 0.3%, at 7,046.8 and the

Neuer Markt's


Nemax 50

index was down 34.6, or 0.6%, at 6,162.8.

German blue-chip tech shares were mixed, but chipmaker



single-handedly vaulted the Dax back into positive territory after the company hiked its earnings forecast. Infineon was up 5.05 euros, or 5.8%, at 92.47 ($86.62).



was down 1.84 euros, or 1.2%, at 158.16,


(EPC) - Get Edgewell Personal Care Co. Report

was 2.03 euros lower, or 1.6%, at 123.77 and


(SAP) - Get SAP SE Report

climbed 1.60 euros, or 0.8%, at 214.60.



tanked 2.50 euros, or 4.7%, to 51.00 after



announced it was unloading half of all the shares it owns of the utility. Hypovereinsbank was up 0.88 euros, or 1.4%, at 66.29 and

Dresdner Bank


was up 0.30 euros, or 0.7%, to 42.50.

Major European telcos moved in every direction, with


(TEF) - Get Telefónica SA Report

closing up 0.95 euros, or 4.6%, at 21.50,

France Telecom


ending down 5.60 euros, or 3.4%, at 157.90 and

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Dynatrace, Inc. Report

trading near unchanged at 63.50.