LONDON -- It appears that enough is enough. No trailblazing this morning as investors took a step back to assess the situation. Interest rates may not go up short term, but is it just a matter of time? The

European Central Bank

held rates

steady as expected at 3.25% and the

FTSE 100

puddled around and was recently 29.6 points lower at 6335.30.

Meanwhile, there's a bid out there somewhere, but not for

Marks & Spencer


, not this morning anyway. The shares, sharply higher yesterday on


takeover talk, fell back 18.5p to 242 as market makers smacked the price and caught punters on the hop after the French retailer denied any bid intentions.

On the other hand,

British Telecom


attracted fresh speculative support and gained 37p to 11.32 pounds. Sentiment was also helped by a bullish telecom review from

Credit Suisse First Boston


Tech stocks were a mixed bag this morning, despite further encouragement from the


. The


index of leading technology shares was down 2.5 points at 5341.10. There appears to be insatiable demand for

Baltimore Technologies


which gained 300p more before trading 150p higher at 121.50 pounds, but


lost 425p to 60.50 pounds after revealing its annual results. The profit, of 4.55 million pounds, is less than expected and the company is proposing to raise 100 million pounds via a share placing to fund mobile Internet investments.

Sellers also held sway this morning over

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

, with the price slipping 8p to 344.

Cable & Wireless


eased 22p to 13.95 pounds.

The continental markets had mixed results amid the European Central Bank's decision to keep interest rates steady. The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was down 51.07 to 7676.86, but the

CAC 40

in Paris was up 71.71 to 6328.03. (For more about the currency market's reaction see's


Losers far outnumbered winners in Frankfurt, as investors chose to favor only a few select issues.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

rose 1.83 euros to 93.82, as reports surfaced about a possible merger with

Qwest Communications



Other stocks in positive territory were


(EPC) - Get Report

up 3.48 euros at 150 and



2.22 euros higher to 57.22.

In Paris,

France Telecom


soared 19.50 euros to 194 as the company said it was considering floating its Internet division and part of its mobile telephone operations.