LONDON -- Despite a decent rise in telecommunication stocks, sellers in London got the upper hand and the

FTSE 100

closed down 34.5 points, or 0.5%, at 6,382.5 and the

Techmark

finished down 6.8 points, or 0.2%, at 3,428.1.

The telecoms got a lift from good quarterly figures of new mobile phone subscribers. It's now official: with over 50% of U.K. population owning a mobile phone, the U.K. now has a mobile underclass.

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

reported record customer connections for the second quarter, and the stock gained a further 7.5p, or 2.6%, to 297 ($4.51). The price is still some way below the high of just under 400p touched in March but represents a marked recovery from a low of 245p just six weeks ago. Strong figures also from

BT Cellnet

helped

British Telecom

(BTY)

shares reverse a negative tone seen throughout most of the session, and the stock closed up 11p, or 1.2%, at 900.

Cable & Wireless

(CWP)

rose 85p, or 7.3%, to

12.46 following a report from a German magazine that

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

is close to acquiring the U.K. telco. Both companies dismissed the report as mere "speculation" and considering the number of times this rumor has done the rounds it is not surprising that many agree with this version of things. Deutsche Telekom was up 1.42 euros, or 2.5%, at 57.42 ($54.63).

Colt Telecom

(COLTY)

didn't fare so well, as investors greeted news of the company's German inter-city network deal as a sign to lock in profits after recent gains. The price fell 70p, or 3.0%, to

23.00.

Cordiant Communications

(CDA)

plummeted 27.5p, or 7.4%, to 344.5 as the company revealed it is to buy

Lighthouse Global Network

, the U.S. communications and marketing agency. The deal, Cordiant's second this week, will create the world's 10th largest communications group. Under the terms of the agreement, Cordiant will acquire the existing issued share capital of Lighthouse in exchange for 75 million new shares with a value of

279 million. The acquisition will value Lighthouse at

392 million.

A decision by Saudia Arabia to increase oil production caught the market off guard. The move was unexpected and came just weeks after an OPEC decision to increase output. Saudi Arabia's unilateral decision sent

BP Amoco

(BPA)

29.5p lower, or 4.7%, to close at 600.5, and

Shell

(SC) - Get Report

slipped 4.5p, or 0.8%, to 550.5.

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

CAC 40

in Paris closing 32.1 lower, or 0.5%, at 6,462.7. Late in the German trading session the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was up 50.5, or 0.7%, at 6,994.9 and the Neuer Markt's tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index was up 87.6, or 1.5%, at 6,119.3.

Big European telecoms moved in varying directions , with

France Telecom

(FTE)

closing near flat at 143.40 euros,

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

ending down 0.34 euro, or 1.4%, at 24.00 and

KPN

(KPN)

closing up 2.09 euros, or 4.7%, at 46.99 in Amsterdam.

Most blue-chip German tech shares cut early gains after the Nasdaq opened lower, with

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

down 5.22 euros, or 4.5%, at 110.78,

Infineon

(IFX)

off 2.60 euros, or 3.3%, at 75.90 and

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

0.40 euros lower, or 0.2%, at 199.00.

Retail giant

Metro

fell 1.29 euros, or 3.2%, to 39.70 after the company refused to comment on reports that

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

was checking its books prior to launching a takeover bid.