LONDON -- The FTSE 100 started strongly and was soon up 60 points, but a lack of follow-through support and an indication from the Standard & Poor's and Nasdaq futures contracts that Wall Street will open lower has led to it falling back to stand 42.5 points lower at 6196.3. The Techmark, however, was clinging to a rise of 15.9 points to 3768.0.

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

began with an 8p gain, but by midmorning was down 9p at 268 ($4.10).

British Telecom

(BTY)

threw away an initial rise of 20p to stand that much lower at

10.09.

Cable & Wireless

(CWP)

fell 27p to 994 and

Colt Telecom

(COLTY)

dipped 40p to

27.80.

A weekend press report that

Dixons

(DXNGY)

has hired

Goldman Sachs

to conduct a review of its 80% stake in

Freeserve

(FREE)

boosted the latter 13p to 420. Dixons currently has an agreement not to sell any more of its stake until July, but this does not mean it can't announce its intentions before then. Previous reports have said that

Deutsche Telekom's

(DT) - Get Report

T-Online

is interested.

Abbey National

rose 35p to 784 on the launch of its e-banking service. There were more reports today that

Barclays Bank

(BCS) - Get Report

is preparing a bid for Abbey National, but Barclays is in the middle of a share-repurchasing program and a bid is not expected until this is completed. Barclays was 40p lower at

15.92.

The usual suspects made the running in the tech sector, with

Bookham Technology

(BKHM)

rising 597p to

42.10 and

Baltimore Technologies

(BALTV)

, ahead of first-quarter figures on Tuesday, gaining 434p to

77.00 before falling back to trade 66p lower on balance at 72.00.

ARM Holdings

(ARMHY)

moved up 12p to 730 and

Psion

rose 22p to 820.

Oils continued to perform well in the wake of Shell's excellent results last week.

Shell

(SC) - Get Report

edged forward 3.5p to 531 and

BP Amoco

(BPA)

, with first-quarter figures out Tuesday, rose 2p to 590.

Sports Internet

rose 12p to 762 amid reports of a bid approach by

BSkyB

(BSY)

, which was 18p lower at

16.21.

Europe's other stock markets started out the week slightly lower, with the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt down 47.88 at 7482.94 and the

CAC 40

in Paris 11.23 lower at 6534.53. The Neuer Markt's

Nemax All-Share

index was down 25.46 at 6610.28.

In Frankfurt, technology shares were having an off day as

Siemens

(SMWAY)

dropped 0.75 euros to 169.00,

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

dipped 3.60 euros to 156.40 and software-maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

fell 1.28 euros to 665.80.

Some of the day's biggest gainers were Old Economy stocks like

Thyssen Krupp

, which gained 0.50 euros to 24.50. Financial issues

Commerzbank

(CRZBY)

and

Deutsche Bank

(DTBKY)

were also able to climb 0.15 euros to 42.85 and 0.19 euros to 76.19, respectively.

Deutsche Telekom fell 1.25 euros to 68.65, despite reports the third tranche of the company's shares to be floated would be smaller than expected. Other European telecom stocks were also lower, as

France Telecom

(FTE)

fell 1.30 euros to 169.00 and

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

dipped 0.07 euros to 26.08.