LONDON -- The grim weather here was a fairly good reflection of how the London market ended Thursday. The
drifted to close 15 points, or 0.2%, lower, at 6594.6, and the
index of leading technology stocks closed down 8.1 points, or 0.2%, at 4511.9, having been up 85 points at one stage.
In the techs, notable fallers included
, down 198p, or 2.4%, to 81.20 pounds ($127.50) and
, down 122p, or 4.9%, at 24.02 pounds.
In the financial sector,
rose 19p, or 1.2%, to 15.63 pounds on speculation that a Dutch bank may be about to pounce. Barclays has flirted with the idea of buying
, which in turn fell 23p, or 2.9%, to 772, looking like it will always play the bridesmaid but never the bride.
relinquished an early 20p rise on speculation that it would sell its stake in Norway's
to close down 18p, or 2.9%, on balance at 605.
Oils failed to take advantage of a higher crude price, with sentiment clouded ahead of the
meeting next Tuesday.
fell 15p, or 2.7%, to 535 and
was off 7.5p, or 1.5%, at 496.
Europe's Continental stock markets also closed lower after a volatile session. The
in Frankfurt ended down 103.84, or 1.3%, at 7694.78, but the
in Paris was able to trim earlier losses to close down only 10.98, or 0.2%, at 6268.31.
Losses for German technology and telecom shares hit the Dax hardest, with
down 0.80 euros, or 1%, at 86 ($82.60),
off 44.95 euros, or 4.8%, at 891.05 and
down 5.50 euros, or 4.3%, at 122.50.
was one of the day's biggest gainers amid speculation that it would merge with insurer
in the wake of the Deutsche-Dresdner Bank merger. Hypovereinsbank ended 2.26 euros higher, or 3.8%, at 62.01 and Munich Re climbed 2.95 euros, or 0.9%, to 328.
ended up 5 euros, or 2.8%, at 183 after confirming that it was acquiring 28.5% of German telco
. Investors in Germany who had been hoping for a complete takeover caused MobilCom to tank 43.80 euros, or 22%, to 155.20 on Frankfurt's
closed 0.10 euros higher, or 0.4%, at 28.20 and
fell 1.10 euros, or 0.5%, to 226.