LONDON -- London market makers appear unsure of which way the market is going. The majority of them are still bullish, but a move up may not necessarily come today. The FTSE 100 opened a few points lower and has since drifted down in quiet trading to stand 53.5 points lower at 6556.1.

The technology stocks, however, were off to a flier, boosted by another strong

Nasdaq

gain overnight. Leading the pack was

Psion

, which gained 359p to 49.50 pounds (US$77.72) before easing back to stand 101p higher at 46.92 pounds.

ARM Holdings

(ARMHY)

rose 44p to 37.25 pounds and

Geo Interactive Media

advanced 155p to 18.27 pounds. The

Techmark

index of leading tech stocks moved up 85.3 points to 4605.5.

The retailing sector saw some interest, as

Great Universal Stores

attracted fresh speculative buying and added 7p to 435.

Marks & Spencer

(MASPY)

, boosted by an

ABN Amro

recommendation, moved up 5p to 270p. However, investors were distinctly underwhelmed by

Next's

20% pretax profits increase and the decision to sell off its Ventura operation. The shares fell 70p to 510p.

British Telecom

(BTY)

edged forward 7p before slipping back to stand 23p cheaper at 12.25 pounds, while

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

shed 4p to 364 in the wake of Wednesday's major share placing by

Hutchison Whampoa

(HUWHY)

.

TST Recommends

Telewest Communications

(TWSTY)

gained 24p to 450p following its results and the launch of interactive services and email products.

Europe's other markets were also lower, as investors turned tail and sold off what started out as a positive session. The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was down 81.50 to 7717.12 and the

CAC 40

in Paris was 56.57 lower to 6222.72.

German technology and telecom shares were some of the main culprits for the early morning volatility, but by midday they looked prepared to stay in negative territory.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

was down 2.98 euros to 83.82 (US$80.50),

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

was falling 17.76 euros to 918.24 and

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

was off 3.18 euros to 124.82.

France Telecom

(FTE)

was down 2.50 euros to 178 after confirming that it was acquiring 28% of German telco

MobilCom

. Despite plugging a critical gap for France Telecom, the shares of both stocks had risen considerably over the past few days as speculation of the deal first surfaced. On Frankfurt's

Neuer Markt

, MobilCom was down 19.50 euros to 178.

Elsewhere,

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

was 0.07 euro lower to 28.03 and

Alcatel

(ALA)

was up 1.40 euros to 228.50.