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LONDON -- The prolonged agony of the U.S. presidential election acted like a Chinese water torture, each drip dissolving market optimism and forcing the markets lower. Technology stocks fared even worse after

Dell Computer

(DELL) - Get Dell Technologies Inc Class C Report

said that revenue growth will slow next year.

In the U.K., retailers staged an impressive rally that saved the

FTSE 100's

blushes, but the index still closed 42 points lower, or 0.7%, at 6400. The

Techmark 100

closed down 124 points, or 3.7%, at 3222.

Bookham Technology

(BKHM)

was hammered again. After Wednesday's earnings, analysts raised a number of reservations, not least of which is its dependence on main customer

Nortel Networks

(NT)

. The shares continued their recent precipitous slide to close 14.6%, or 266p, lower at

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15.60 ($22.31). The shares have fallen more than 37% in two days and it could presage a drop to a level near its flotation price of

10.00.

Internet security firm

Baltimore Technologies

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fell to 460p, a loss of 25p or 5.2% and

Marconi

(MONI)

ended the week battered and bruised, 26p lower, or 3.1%, at 810.

By contrast, retailers stood conspicuously aloof from the general market fall. Drugstore chain

Boots

continued to rise after Thursday's inclusion by

Goldman Sachs

on its list of defensive stocks. The shares eventually closed 45p higher, or 8.5%, at 575.

Also on a positive note,

EMI

(EMIPY)

tenaciously held on to earlier gains after the company confirmed the worst-kept secret in the market: that it had been approached by Germany's

Bertelsmann

about a possible tie-up. Investors were encouraged by the prospect of the two companies making beautiful music together and the shares closed 27.5p higher, or 5.1%, at 571.5.

However, the rest of media sector was hurt by

Disney's

(DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report

warning of a slowdown in advertising revenue. Magazine publisher

Emap

closed 53p lower, or 6.0%, at 830, while

Reuters

(RTRSY)

finished 16p down, or 1.3%, at

12.64.

Finally,

British Telecom

(BTY)

continued to be sold off as the investment community decided its restructuring, announced Thursday, was too little too late. BT closed 49p lower, or 6.5%, at 700p. Other telcos also looked worse for wear ahead of their interims next week.

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Vodafone Group Plc Report

, which reports Tuesday, ended 2.1% lower at 245p.

Europe's other stock markets ended the week even further in the red than London, as the

CAC-40

in Paris closed down 123.7 points, or 2%, at 6147.5 and the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was off 110.8, or 1.6%, to 6848.7 late in German trading. The

Neuer Markt's

tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index was down 123.9, or 3%, to 4046.1.

Weak tech shares lead the way lower, as

STMicroelectronics

(STM) - Get STMicroelectronics NV Report

closed down 2.50 euros, or 4.8%, to 49.50 ($42.87),

Infineon

(IFX)

fell 3.11 euros, or 6.6%, to 43.90 and software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get SAP SE Report

dropped 13.55 euros, or 6.1%, to 210.17.

Ahead of the Swiss UMTS auction starting Monday, shares of telcos -- even those not participating -- moved lower.

France Telecom

(FTE)

closed down 5.30 euros, or 4.7%, at 108.00,

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Dynatrace, Inc. Report

fell 0.98 euro, or 2.4%, to 39.20 euros and

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Telefónica SA Report

dropped 0.85 euro, or 3.9%, to 20.70.

Some Old Economy stocks continued to offer a little relief from all the red numbers, as German utility

E.ON

(EON)

was up 0.51 euro, or 0.8%, to 64.01 and

Volkswagen

(VLKAY)

rose 0.15 euro, or 0.3%, to 58.05.