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European Markets Update: Stocks Trend Lower Amid Tech Losses

In the U.K., Vodafone AirTouch weighs on the FTSE.

LONDON -- It's Valentine's Day -- but no massacre yet. The trend first thing was naturally lower, given Wall Street's fall on Friday -- the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

has fallen 10% since the start of the year, and this is now officially deemed a "correction" -- but the U.K. market appeared a bit steadier midmorning.


FTSE 100

index kicked off with a 28-point fall, drifted down 43 points, but by midmorning was trundling along at 6161.2, down 32.4. The heavyweight

Vodafone AirTouch

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was down 10p at 341, and was responsible for about 15 points of the fall.

For those of you with a nervous disposition, here's the latest on tech stocks. Following the 90-point


drop on Friday, the trend, not surprisingly, was downward. Losses were not that hefty in percentage terms, but looked pretty hideous in pounds and pence.

Baltimore Technology

, which went into orbit last week, has been extremely volatile. Down 3 pounds at the outset, the shares have since rebounded and were 13.75 pounds higher at 122.70 pounds.

ARM Holdings


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fell 111p to 44.00 pounds.

Kewill Systems

fell 135p to 28.52 pounds. Nevertheless, the


index was 0.62% off at 4817.16.

Technology shares in Frankfurt were also mostly lower. The blue-chip techs were mixed, however, with software maker


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down 7.15 euros at 829.45 and



up 0.90 euros at 172.40.

Despite Monday's broader losses, some analysts think Europe could become a tech investor's heaven. "Europe's technological issues have long stood in the shadow of the large U.S. stocks," says Robert Halver, an equity strategist for

Delbrueck Asset Management

in Frankfurt. But now conditions "point to a continuation of the outperformance of European vs. U.S. high-tech issues in general."

Among U.K. banks, it was

Alliance & Leicester's

turn to report good results, and the shares responded with a gain of 21p to 523.

Cable & Wireless


rose 32p to 13.90 pounds in anticipation of a formal offer for its Hong Kong subsidiary from

Pacific Century Cyberworks


The Continent's stock markets started the week out mixed, with France and Germany lower in early trade. The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was down 49.15 at 7562.40 and the

CAC 40

in Paris was 82.14 lower at 6204.87.


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, which just replaced



in the Dax, looks set to become a new champion for Euro tech and gained 7.40 euros to 171.90. Mannesmann shares were 13.30 euros higher at 328.30.

Other telecoms were lower.

France Telecom


dipped 7 euros to 165.90 and

Deutsche Telekom

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was 1.40 euros lower at 87.70.