LONDON -- After Wall Street's pasting last night and ahead of the
Bank of England's
imminent decision on interest rates, market makers were trying to initiate a damage-imitation exercise, but the
was down 110 points at 6205 midmorning.
What else was going on? I hear you cry. Well,
was rocking and rolling and drunk with power this morning after news that its merger with
has been declared unconditional with 61% acceptances. Mannesmann is to be removed from the German
index tomorrow night and was 8.50 euros lower at 308 midsession, while Vodafone Airtouch was down 14p to 321.
was up a mighty 2p at 15.65 pounds, after receiving U.S.
Food and Drug Administration
approval for its irritable bowel syndrome drug,
. We are not surprised that the shares are better as this drug is set to generate annual sales of $1 billion in the U.S.
It's all over bar the shouting in the banks with
likely to concede defeat to
Royal Bank of Scotland
later today. NatWest gained 25p to 11.75 pounds, while Royal Bank fell a further 40p to 864. Jilted
Bank of Scotland
rose 19p to 690.
There are still people out there who think that
, unchanged at 645, may take a pop at Bank of Scotland, but analysts are skeptical. They say Bank of Scotland is too well managed, efficient and not diversified enough -- you can't really break it up and, if you did bid, you would have to pay over the odds.
The Continent's stock markets were having a rough go of it early Thursday, after hitting record highs in recent sessions and following Wall Street's nosedive late Wednesday. The Xetra Dax in Frankfurt was down 84.73 to 7544.38 and the
in Paris was 83.87 lower at 6187.73.
Consolidation of those recent gains was the name of the game in Frankfurt, as not only the Dax sold off from its new lofty heights, but
, the index's heaviest weight, did as well. Midsession, Telekom was down 0.79 euros at 91.71.
subsidiary and soon-to-be Dax member
were 27.50 euros higher at 139.50 after the company reported record first-quarter profits. Siemens shares were down 6.62 euros at 172.98.
Both energy and chemical company
were also in the plus column, after posting positive results as well Thursday. Veba was up 0.38 euros at 42.58 and Metro was 0.78 euros higher at 41.98.