European Midday Update: Markets Lower, Trading in Tight Ranges - TheStreet

LONDON -- The

FTSE 100

looked set to consolidate above the 6500 level Thursday, with the index fluctuating narrowly. The Footsie was 9.2 points lower to 6527.1 and the

Techmark

index of leading technology shares was off 7.2 points to 3375.1.

It's another day for individual features, and just in case you missed it,

BskyB

(BSY)

has blown the competition away when it comes to televising

English Premier League

soccer matches. It has paid a much lower than expected

1.1 billion ($1.65 billion) to show 66 live games per season. BSkyB moved 68p higher to

12.93.

Sports Internet

, soon to be part of BSkyB, climbed 40p to 685 in sympathy.

Independent Energy

(INDYY)

, the U.K. electricity and gas supplier, confounded the market by announcing a bid approach for the company is a possibility this morning, after Wednesday admitting that billing problems were taking longer than expected to resolve and that it was in talks to secure a longer-term working capital facility. The shares, which fell 775p, or 62%, to 472 yesterday, rebounded 192p, or 40%, to stand at 665.

Tesco

(TSCDY)

rose 7p before easing back to stand 3p higher at 212 following an upbeat trading statement. Group sales have risen by 10.1% in the first quarter. Analysts, however, express some concern that the figures seem to have been boosted by petrol sales rather than its core retail trade. Still, it doesn't seem a problem to a company whose motto way back when was "pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap."

Infobank

gained 45p to

10.15 on news of a software deal with

Biotech Analytics

, while

Medisys

moved up 5p to 123 as the company pursues a full listing and inclusion in the Techmark index. The market is also waiting to hear about Medisys' latest needle injection technology.

Media concern

Pearson

(PRSNY)

was down 67p to

20.03, amid news it is paying a hefty

62 million for

Talkback Productions

.

Europe's other major stock markets were lower and trading in tight ranges early Thursday, with the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt down 2.38 to 7348.56 and the

CAC 40

in Paris 32.84 lower to 6575.26. The

Neuer Markt's

tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index was down 68.3 to 6509.2.

In Frankfurt, merging utilities

Veba

(VEB)

and

Viag

profited from the news they will be combined in the Dax from Monday as

E.ON

, as well as from agreement between industry and the German government on the long-term details of shutting down the country's nuclear power plants. Midsession, Veba was up 2.43 euros to 56.20 ($53.81) and Viag was 1.08 euros higher to 22.40.

Siemens

(SMAWY)

subsidiary

Infineon

(IFX)

failed to profit from the announcement it would take the vacant Dax spot left by the Veba and Viag combination, falling 2.80 euros to 79.50.

Other blue-chip German tech shares were mixed, with software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

up 23.40 euros to 639.90, Siemens down 0.62 euro to 163.37 and

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

0.80 euro lower to 147.99.

Many European telcos were in positive territory Thursday, with

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

up 0.43 euro to 68.53 and

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

up 0.08 euro to 23.18. However,

France Telecom

(FTE)

fell 1.10 euros to 168.50.