European Markets Update: Tech Strength Continues, but the FTSE Is Down - TheStreet

LONDON -- The London stock markets were riding along on the crest of a tech-stock wave Friday morning, following another record-breaking performance by the

Nasdaq

.

Mere mention of the word "tech" and the shares were off to the races: If your stock is not up at least a pound (a small percentage of these mostly high-priced stocks), then you may reasonably argue it's underperforming. The

Techmark

index is up 1.73% at 4918.47.

The

FTSE 100

, however, was unable to sustain its early morning pace -- when it posted a 46-point gain -- and was trading down 67 points at 6212.8.

"It's the institutions selling other things so that they can load up with Vodafone," said a market maker.

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

had a manic morning again. Down 3p at the outset, the shares recovered strongly, and were 9p higher at 352. Its offer for

Mannesmann

(MNNSY)

now has 67% acceptance. Mannesmann was up 12 euros at 334.

Baltimore Technology

was 770p higher at 99.70 pounds with 77,000 shares traded, while

Infobank

jumped 230p to 22.92 pounds on news that it has signed a technical and partnership deal with

Requisite Technology

.

Sema

rose 67p to 17.41 pounds, before settling 32p higher at 17.06 pounds as the market warms to its deal with

BluSpA

, the Italian mobile operator.

ARM Holdings

(ARMHY)

added a mere 88p to 47.9 pounds.

It's not all sweetness and light.

Jellyworks

was upset by news of the chairman's departure and the price dipped 11p to 83.

Believe it or not, there are things happening elsewhere in the market.

Lloyds TSB

kicked off the banks' reporting season with a solid set of figures, but the shares fell 47p to 639. Don't be surprised by this move, it is merely profit-taking: Thursday the price was up 42p.

Barclays

(BCS) - Get Report

lost some of Thursday's sparkle and retreated 27p to 14.70 pounds.

NatWest

(NW)

rose 44p to 11.91 pounds as it advised its shareholders to accept the

Royal Bank of Scotland

bid. Royal Bank of Scotland was down 15p to 860.

Wassall

, the mini conglomerate, was 30p higher to 391 following a recommended 400p per-share cash offer from

Wengen Acquisition

, a company formed at the direction of

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts

, the international buy-out specialists. The offer values Wassall at 627 million pounds.

The Continent's stock markets went from strength to strength, with some indices able to build confidently on record closes Thursday. The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was up 48.82 at 7758.09 and the

CAC 40

in Paris was 98.25 higher at 6305.77.

Many of the stocks that pushed Frankfurt to a new all-time high Thursday were back at it in early trade. Speculation of an imminent takeover or merger continued for

Commerzbank

(CRZBY)

and pushed the bank's shares 2.14 euros higher to 37.49 after surging almost 10% Thursday.

Tech and telecom investors were also having a happy start to the weekend both in Frankfurt and Paris. Anointed Dax member

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

can apparently do no wrong before it joins the index. The company's shares were up 14.50 euros at 185.00. Epcos' parent company

Siemens

(SMAWY)

couldn't keep pace with its subsidiary and was up only 0.10 euros to 173.10.

France Telecom

(FTE)

was up 5.30 euros at 172.30 after noting it would aggressively pursue

Orange

, which Mannesmann will have to divest in the wake of the company's merger with Vodafone.