LONDON -- The FTSE 100 powered up 26 points in the first few minutes, but then ran out of steam and by midmorning was down 0.7 points to 6215.6. Similarly, the Techmark, shrugging aside overnight weakness in the Nasdaq, moved forward 17.8 points to 3751.2 in early trade but retraced its steps to stand down 7.9 points at 3725.1.

"The market is quietly firm -- unless you're a telecom stock. They're just friendless at the moment," commented a senior market maker. Indeed.

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

was down 9p to 258 ($3.96),

British Telecom

(BTY)

was down 7p to 993, and

Colt Telecom

(COLTY)

fell 29p to

27.60. However,

Energis

(ENGSY)

bucked the trend and was up 36p to

30.00.

In media stocks,

BSkyB

(BSY)

lost 9p to

16.26 as

Lehman Brothers

reiterated its neutral stance but cut its June 2001 price target to

13.00.

Sage

was the pick of the tech stocks as the company reported interim pretax profits 52% higher at a better-than-expected

54 million. The shares rose 47p at 714. On the other hand, investors struggled to make sense of

Baltimore Technologies'

(BALT)

first-quarter figures and the price gyrated. First it rose 300p, then fell 369p and by midmorning it was 41p lower at

69.28.

In other tech stocks,

Psion

was up 13p at 800, but

ARM Holdings

(ARMHY)

slipped 8p to 675,

BATM Advanced Communications

fell 317p to

43.35 and

Bookham Technology

(BKHM)

was down 155p to

38.32.

Most of Europe's continental stock markets were also lower, with technology shares weighing on most indices. The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was down 81.48 at 7326.61 and the

CAC 40

in Paris was 55.03 lower at 6459.39. The Neuer Markt's

Nemax All-Share

index was down 39.25 at 5867.29.

KPN

(KPN)

was down 4.80 euros at 118.15 amid news that Japan's

NTT Docomo

will take a 15% stake in the Dutch telco's mobile unit for 5 billion euros.

Elsewhere,

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

was down 2.01 euros at 64.99 and

France Telecom

(FTE)

was 3.30 euros lower at 160.20.

In Frankfurt,

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

was off 4.00 euros at 144.50 ($129.80),

Siemens

(SMWAY)

was down 2.77 euros at 163.55 and software-maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

was 7.68 euros lower at 645.50.

German automaker

BMW

surged 1.85 euros to 34.59 after securing an agreement to offload its troubled Rover unit.

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

slipped 0.24 euros to 63.75 and

Volkswagen

(VLKAY)

was down 0.01 euro at 46.69.