LONDON -- It looks like we're in for a long day.
With most of Europe's stock markets closed for the Pentecost holiday, London got off to a slow start. By 8:20 a.m. London time, only 20 of the top 100 shares had registered any movement. By midmorning, the
was up 1.1 points to 6444.9 and the
was down 8.3 to 3473.3.
At least we have
to talk about, the Internet banking arm of insurer
, which debuted on the London stock market this morning. The shares were priced at 160p ($2.42), opened at 177p, traded as high as 185p and by midmorning were at 174.5p. Volume has been reasonable so far at 17.8 million shares.
In other news,
rose 9p to 321 and
was up 7p to 991 on news that the two telecom giants have signed a co-operation agreement to acquire additional shareholdings in Spanish mobile phone operator
is still struggling as fears rise over further sales by
of its stake in Rupert Murdoch's satellite broadcaster, to say nothing of reports that BSkyB looks set to be out bid by cable firm
for the rights to Premiership League soccer coverage. The shares fell 18p further to
11.25. A week ago, the shares stood at
, under pressure in recent trading sessions from general apathy toward its possible merger with Dutch carrier
, rallied 8p to 383. The market is now taking the view that a merger could lead to significant cost savings on both fuel and management.
Among the tech stocks,
advanced 17p to 653 on its acquisition of a 3.2% stake in
, a wireless networking company, for $5 million cash.
In Europe, most of the markets were closed, but a few traders in Frankfurt tried to make a go of things amid no news and miserable volumes. The
was up 14.71 to 7269.24 and the
index was down 18.3 to 6584.7.
Big techs were mixed amid the listless trade, with software maker
down 3.45 euros to 606.45 ($577.94) and
off 3.70 euros to 137.50, while
rose 0.30 euro to 166.30.
fell 0.80 euro to 86.50 and
, which is considering a joint bid with
for Korean carmaker
, rose 0.44 euro to 60.44.
rose 0.64 euro to 66.63, after reports last week that the upcoming sale of some of the German government's shares is already oversubscribed.