LONDON -- The grim weather here was a fairly good reflection of how the London market ended Thursday. The

FTSE 100

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

Baltimore Technologies

, 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,


(BCS) - Get Report

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

Abbey National

, which in turn fell 23p, or 2.9%, to 772, looking like it will always play the bridesmaid but never the bride.

Game publisher



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.

BP Amoco


fell 15p, or 2.7%, to 535 and


(SC) - Get Report

was off 7.5p, or 1.5%, at 496.

Europe's Continental stock markets also closed lower after a volatile session. The

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Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt ended down 103.84, or 1.3%, at 7694.78, but the

CAC 40

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

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

down 0.80 euros, or 1%, at 86 ($82.60),


(SAP) - Get Report

off 44.95 euros, or 4.8%, at 891.05 and


(EPC) - Get Report

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

Munich Re

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.

France Telecom


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

Neuer Markt




(TEF) - Get Report

closed 0.10 euros higher, or 0.4%, at 28.20 and



fell 1.10 euros, or 0.5%, to 226.