LONDON - Bad news on the Japanese economy and a shaky start on Wall Street combined to make Monday rough on European shares, but with the

FTSE 100

clawing its way back from about 180 points down to end the session only 101.8 points lower, or 1.6%, at 6,466.9, there is perhaps life in the old dog yet.

The technology sector bore the brunt of the selling, and the

Techmark

index of leading tech stocks ended down 198 points, or 3.4%, at 5,520.6.

On the downside,

Baltimore Technologies

fell 11.00 pounds, or 8.0%, to 126.50 pounds ($198.60), and

Affinity Internet

fell 575p, or 9.6%, to 54.25 pounds.

Psion

suffered a loss of 536p, or 8.3%, to 59.60 pounds, while

ARM Holdings

(ARMHY)

dropped 369p, or 7.8%, to 44.85 pounds. ARM also suffered as a result of a sell note from

Nomura

, which gave a price target of only 26.4 pounds.

On the upside,

NetBenefit

rose 300p, or 19.6%, to 20.62 pounds ahead of the release of interim results on March 24 and a presentation at the offices of its broker and financial adviser,

Investec Henderson Crosthwaite

.

Elsewhere,

AstraZeneca

propped up the pharmaceutical sector for most of the day and ended the session 87p higher, or 3.5%, at 25.73 pounds after the Swedish green light came for its

Nexium

duodenal ulcer treatment.

Glaxo Wellcome

(GLX)

gained 56p, or 3.5%, to 16.68 pounds, while merger partner

SmithKline Beecham

(SBH) - Get Report

ahead 23p, or 3.1%, to 762.5.

The major continental stock markets closed sharply lower, much of the blame for that lying with technology and media shares. The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt closed down 282.32, or 3.6%, at 7692.63 and the

CAC 40

in Paris finished 173.35 lower, or 2.7%, at 6336.93.

Frankfurt technology stocks plummeted at the open and helped keep the market down all day. "This might just be the start of a correction," opined one German trader.

Software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

dropped 55.40 euros, or 5.3%, to 990.10 ($952.81) and

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

closed down 7.50 euros, or 5.3%, at 134.

Siemens

(SMAWY)

fell 15.40 euros, or 8.3%, to 171.10, as the debut of its semiconductor unit

Infineon

(IFX)

sucked liquidity away from the electronics giant. However, the tech weakness also dampened demand for Infineon's new shares, which surged to 70.26 euros from an initial 35, but less than the 100 that some investors had expected.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

fell 5.50 euros, or 5.6%, to 92.25.

The biggest gainer in Frankfurt was power company

RWE

(RWEOY)

, amid speculation that the company may be planning cooperation with oil company

Shell

. RWE closed up 0.90 euros, or 2.9%, at 32.40.