LONDON -- U.K. stocks were surprisingly firm early this morning, given the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 122 points overnight, but in the absence of any investment leads -- and many people are out at the Ascot horse racing event -- the FTSE 100 by midmorning had drifted down to stand 85.3 points lower at 6441.6.
move back above 4000 points overnight gave some support to tech stocks, however, and the
edged forward 8.8 points to 3466.1.
Oil shares continued to rise ahead of Wednesday's
meeting of oil ministers, even though the organization is likely to increase output by 1 million barrels. The market thinks this is too little, too late and believes the oil price will stick around the $30 level, suggesting that there is further upside in the heavyweights such as
, up 13p to 563 ($8.56), and
, up 3.5p to 628. However,
, considered by some to be a potential takeover target, encountered profit-taking this morning and slipped 4p to 512.
Computer games publisher
, which saw its shares shoot up almost 28% on Tuesday after announcing it is in takeover talks, slipped back 35p to 515 pending developments.
Europe's other major stock markets were also lower amid thin trade before the Corpus Christi holiday on Thursday. The
in Frankfurt was down 120.22 to 7107.05 and the
in Paris was 72.10 lower to 6482.82. The
index was off 89.1 to 6419.0.
German tech shares were mostly lower, with software maker
off 2.85 euros to 659.65 ($630.90) and
down 1.05 euros to 161.85.
was one of the few issues in positive territory, up 4.00 euros to 135.00.
Carmakers were mixed, as
rose 0.04 euro to 40.28 and
dropped 0.08 euro to 56.85.
In Paris, conglomerate
recouped some of its losses Tuesday from announcing it would merge with
. Midday, Vivendi was up 0.20 euro to 88.30.
It was an off day for major European telcos, with
down 0.47 euro to 20.93,
down 3.70 euros to 158.10 and
1.87 euros lower to 64.03.