European Midday Update: Markets Fail to Follow Wall Street Higher - TheStreet

European Midday Update: Markets Fail to Follow Wall Street Higher

Individual stocks have lead the way on merger rumors.
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LONDON -- You would think that the European equity markets would respond positively to sharp

Dow Jones Industrial Average

,

Nasdaq Composite

and

Hang Seng

gains, but so far today, investors have been reluctant to chase the game and it's been left to individual stocks to provide the features.

The

FTSE 100

in London stood 10.6 points lower at 6,615.8. The

Techmark

index for leading technology stocks stood 24.9 points higher at 3,658.3.

Vosper Thornycroft

surged higher with a gain of 195p to

13.95 ($21.04) after press reports that

Thomson CSF

(TCSFY)

is lining up a bid of

15.00 per share for the company to compete directly with

British Aerospace (BAe) Systems

(BAESY)

. This didn't appear to trouble Bae, which was 4p higher at 404.

Dealers think there could be some truth in the rumor that

Cadbury Schweppes

(CSG)

could team up with

Danone

(DA)

of France to mount a bid for giant

Nabisco

(NA)

. Cadbury rose 6p to 421.

Unigate

(UNGAY)

, on the other hand, dipped 7p to 298 with the market seemingly unimpressed with full year profit of

124.3 million, at the top end of analysts' estimates. The consensus estimate was

123.1 million. There is an unchanged dividend of 23p.

Airports operator

BAA

(BAAPY)

responded to top-of-the-range profit of

460 million with a gain of 10p to 490. The company plans a share buyback of as many as

400 million and sees good prospects for retailing. There are also reports that BAA is planning to sell its U.S. arm of duty-free operations for

290 million.

Among the techs,

JSB Software

jumped 200p to

20.00 after news of boardroom changes and a proposed name change. JSB will soon be known as SurfControl.

GEO Interactive

rose 160p to

10.30 following a further deal with

Samsung

.

Europe's other major stock markets were mostly lower early Thursday, with the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt down 33.8 at 7,405.1 and the

CAC 40

in Paris 25.0 lower at 6,648.5. The Neuer Markt's tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index was up 93.3 at 6,721.6.

In Frankfurt big tech shares were lower, with software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

down 6.42 euros at 614.62 ($581.33),

Siemens

(SMWAY)

off 2.85 euros at 166.45 and

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

0.65 euros lower at 140.05.

Carmakers were mixed midsession, as

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

rose 1.26 euros to 59.21 and

Volkswagen

(VLKAY)

fell 0.02 euros to 42.83.

On the Neuer Markt, online bank and brokerage

Comdirect

was up at 36 euros, trimming gains made in the first hours after its initial public offering at 31. ISP

T-Online

was down 2.17 euros at 41.20.

In the telecoms sector, a report that

Orange

may attempt to merge with Holland's

KPN

(KPN)

mobile unit and Finland's

Sonera

(SNRA)

pushed KPN's shares down 0.65 euros at 52.2 and Sonera's up 5.80 euros to 62.10.

Elsewhere,

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

was down 1.58 euros at 71.42,

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

was near unchanged at 23.22 euros and

France Telecom

(FTE)

was 3.50 euros lower at 165.50.