LONDON -- Pharmaceutical stocks caused the U.K. markets to stumble Monday morning as newspaper reports surfaced that Glaxo Wellcome's (GLX) Ziagen HIV treatment has possible fatal side effects.
Glaxo's shares slipped 30p to
19.39 ($28.89) in a knee-jerk reaction from investors. Merger partner
also slid, falling 19p to 875. Overall, the
was 47 points lower to 6496.7 in early trading.
Slightly softer oil stocks greased the Footsie's slide.
slipped 5.5p to 624, while
eased 8.5p to 578.
In the retail sector, drugstore chain
got a lift on weekend reports that
is considering a
6 billion takeover of the company. The shares were 24p firmer at 524. This would be Wal-Mart's second foray into the U.K., following its purchase of supermarket chain
earlier this year.
Telcos had a quiet start to the week.
remained out of favor and fell 4p to 264.
looked more resilient as it attempted to consolidate Friday's gains made on the back of a report about a possible tie-up between it and
(yes, that old story again). However, the shares were lately in the red, standing down 3p at 834.
rose 13p to 509, albeit in light trade. There is speculation that Energis may be poised to bid for telco
, which was unchanged at 128.25p.
was volatile as it gave back some of Friday's stellar gains on speculation that
is preparing a bid for the optical component maker. The shares dropped 110p to
38.50, which in turn weighed on the
index, which was 17.77 points lower to 3634.07.
Europe's other major stock markets were lower midday Monday as the
in Paris was down 51.76 to 6542.49 and the
in Frankfurt was off 73.22 to 7159.20. The
index was 20.4 lower to 5656.9.
Germany's biggest utility
rose 0.11 euro to 57.11 ($51.79), after the
reported it was considering a merger with France's
, which dropped 4.30 euros to 183.40.
Telecom operators continued to feel pressure from the costs of building third-generation wireless networks, with
down 0.88 euro to 45.15,
off 1.27 euros to 22.63 and
down 2.35 euros to 39.65.
In Paris things weren't quite so ugly, as
managed to climb 0.40 euro to 129.40, but telco equipment manufacturer
got hit by profit-taking, dipping 1.30 euros to 83.70.
Elsewhere, German blue-chip tech shares were mixed, with
up 1.08 euros to 171.00,
down 1.49 euros to 97.00 and software maker
4.59 euros lower to 264.20.