European Midday Update: Major Markets Mixed Ahead of U.S. Jobs Report

Trading is slow as investors await U.S. data, but tech stocks in the U.K. remain in fine fettle.
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LONDON -- We've got that Friday feeling and so has the market. It's all gone quiet out there until the payrolls and hourly earnings data from the U.S. are released this afternoon. The

FTSE 100

fluctuated in a narrow range and was recently 13.2 points higher to 6445.3, while the

Techmark

index of leading technology stocks was up 30.34 points to 5482.05.

British Aerospace

(BTASY)

came out with a very good set of results, but the shares gave a relatively muted response, rising just 4p to 329, before slipping back to stand 2.5p cheaper at 322.

British Telecom

(BTY)

rose 83p to 12.57 pounds with vague bid rumors still doing the rounds. The real reason the shares are on the up, however, is relief that the U.K.

Trade and Industry

secretary Stephen Byers has dropped the telecommunications industry from his flagship utilities bill. Also, the

Radio Communications Agency

is about to auction five licenses for the third-generation mobile spectrum. Thirteen bidders have prequalified, of which BT is one.

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

moved up 5p to 360 and

Marconi

gained 26p to 920.

The tech stocks were in fine fettle this morning, as

Baltimore Technologies

led the charge with a further rise of 425p to 121.75 pounds.

Forbidden Technology

advanced 300p to 10.05 pounds and

Psion

fell 170p before reversing to stand 230p higher at 75.00 pounds following Thursday's proposed 100 million-pound share placing to fund expansion.

Goldman Sachs

this morning upgraded Psion, setting a price target of 100 pounds to 120 pounds.

The Continental stock markets were slipping heading into the weekend, with the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt down 12.72 to 7933.05 and the

CAC 40

in Paris down 2.83 to 6474.72.

In Frankfurt, losses were spread across the entire market, with only a few issues able to buck the overall downtrend.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

rose 1.72 euros to 101.10, as it was reported the company was in merger talks with

Global Crossing

(GBLX)

as well as

Qwest Communications

(Q)

.

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

jumped 9.72 euros to 159 and

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

fell 9.62 euros to 900.80.

In Paris,

France Telecom

(FTE)

was hit by profit-taking and fell 14 euros to 205 after making major gains Thursday.

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

in Madrid was down 0.04 euros to 31.46.