LONDON -- The surge in U.K. technology and telecom stocks seen over the past four sessions came to an abrupt halt Tuesday as investors suddenly seemed to lose heart.


FTSE 100

finished the day down 46 points, or 0.7%, at 6,753 while the

Techmark 100

bore the brunt of the selling and closed down 184 points, or 4.3%, at 4,103. Jason James, pan-European strategist at

HSBC Securities

, said the retreat by the FTSE 100 reflected profit-taking, but believes it is likely to prove just a technical retracement and investors should see further gains in tech shares over the next few months.

The tone was set from the beginning as computer services firm


fell following the release of its first-half results. The stock ended up as the biggest loser among blue chips, shedding a massive 229 pence, or 17.0%, to

11.21 ($16.25).

The earnings appeared to be at the top end of analysts' expectations, but as broker

Charles Stanley

pointed out: "Although the headline numbers look slightly ahead of expectations, in fact they include a one-off pension contribution refund of

14.3 million. If this is excluded, operating profits actually fell by 22%."

Charles Stanley added bluntly, "Much of the absolute shambles of an analysts' meeting that we have just attended consisted of the management trying to persuade the investment community that there were also several non-recurring costs taken during the half that in effect mean the reported profits do reflect the underlying performance of the group."

Sema's weakness had a knock-on effect on the rest of the IT market.


plunged 28p, or 4.1% to 650 and


fell 40p, or 5.1%, to 745.

The rest of the tech market fared little better. Notable losers included

ARM Holdings


, down 53p, or 6.0%, to 825 and

Parthus Technologies

(PRTH) - Get Report

, down 50p, or 12.2%, to 358.3. Not so surprising that the latter should have fallen, as it has risen 75% since its announced a non-exclusive licensing deal with ARM on Wednesday of

last week.

Not everyone had a bad day.


(VOD) - Get Report

closed up 7p, or 2.5%, at 292 -- enough to add around 19 points to the FTSE 100 -- after it announced a joint development project with


(MSFT) - Get Report

to drive the expansion of mobile Internet products and services.

Europe's other stock markets finished lower, with the

CAC 40

in Paris closing down 65.6, or 1.0%, at 6,856.8. Late in the German session, the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was off 48.3, or 0.7%, at 7,397.2 and the Neuer Markt's tech-heavy

Nemax 50

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index was 97.2 lower, or 1.5%, at 6,346.7.

Many of the Continent's technology and telecom shares experienced a technical retreat after surging Monday.



fell 0.70 euros, or 0.4%, to 188.50 ($169.29),


(EPC) - Get Report

was down 0.20 euros, or 0.2%, at 116.60 and software maker


(SAP) - Get Report

was 1.48 euros lower, or 0.5%, at 308.00.

Lycos Europe

, joint venture of





dropped 2.33 euros, or 18.7%, to 10.15, after reporting widening losses.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

was off 1.83 euros, or 3.7%, at 47.18,

France Telecom


closed down 6.90 euros, or 4.6%, at 144.50 and


(TEF) - Get Report

ended down 0.64 euros, or 2.6%, at 23.75.




was up 0.04 euros, or 0.1%, at 58.49 amid continuing speculation the company is preparing to increase its stake in


. Rival



was off 0.40 euros, or 0.8%, at 49.80.

Financial stocks were higher, with

Deutsche Bank


up 0.32 euros, or 0.3%, at 98.12 and French insurer



ended up 0.50 euros, or 0.3%, at 160.50.