LONDON -- Turnover in the last hour of London trading ground to a halt as investors, brokers, market makers and taxi drivers diverted their attention to the Budget. As the market closed, Chancellor Gordon Brown finished speaking, but it was too late to start trading again so any reaction will have to wait until Wednesday.
ended the session just 6.6 points, or 0.1%, lower at 6617.9, having been 81 points down at one stage on investment inertia.
For most of the day there was plenty of action in the technology sector, with Nasdaq's fall Monday causing palpitations. The
index of leading tech stocks was at one point down 363 points, or 6.5%, to 4511.0, but staged a partial rally to close 291.2 points down, or 6.0% lower, at 4583.7.
at one point collapsed 24.50 pounds, or 23.5%, to 79.00 pounds ($124.03), before closing down 13.28 pounds, or 12.8%, at 90.23 pounds,
fared little better. It slid 509p, or 9.5%, to 48.87 pounds. Other casualties included
down 575p, or 19.2%, to 24.25 pounds, and
423p lower, or 10.0%, at 37.99 pounds.
took a predictable tumble, closing down 62.5p, or 18.3%, to 320 as small investors decided that enough was enough. The shares touched a high of 562.5 last week, but are now 60p below the offer price. Turnover amounted to 1.64 million shares today.
There was also pain in the biotech sector, where
slid 550p, or 25.5%, to 16.57 pounds, and
lost 377p, or 12.4%, to 26.47 pounds.
After a choppy start, there was some interest in the pharmaceutical sector.
rose 74p, or 4.1%, to 18.60 pounds, while
rose 14.5p, or 1.9%, to 848.
advanced 94p, or 3.6%, to 26.98 pounds.
Oil stocks shrugged off early worries about a possible rise in production levels after the forthcoming meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, with
rising 6p, or 1.1%, to 548.5 and
18p higher, or 3.6%, at 517.
Most of Europe's other stock markets closed lower, with the
in Frankfurt closing down 64.45, or 0.8%, at 7807.93 and the
in Paris finishing off 31.64, or 0.5%, at 6320.87.
German technology stocks that made gains Monday fell prey to widespread profit-taking.
fell 5.24 euros, or 3%, to 170 ($165.43) and
dropped 59.80 euros, or 6.2%, to 910.
Around the Continent investors also decided to sell telecoms, with
falling 2.31 euros, or 2.5%, to 88.99,
dipping 6.90 euros, or 3.6%, to 185.30 and
off 1.60 euros, or 0.7%, at 232.60.
Old Economy issues in Frankfurt such as carmakers, however, were able to buck the negative trend.
climbed 2.40 euros, or 7.8%, to 33.10 and
closed up 0.40 euros, or 0.6%, at 68.05.