LONDON -- With the Easter break due to start Friday, it was very quiet on the Western Front. There was a reluctance to open fresh positions, because Wall Street, unlike Europe, will be open on Monday and investors never know what can happen in these volatile times.
drifted down 48.4 points to 6136.5 before recovering to stand just 1.5 points down at 6183.4 amid early indications that Wall Street is set to open firmer. The
index was also down early on, but rallied to stand 12.6 points better on balance at 3565.5.
Dealers detected some switching out of technology into biotechnology stocks and this was borne out by gains in
, up 50p to
20.12 (US$32.00), and
, up 22p to
Among the tech stocks,
provided a bright feature, rising 4p to 62.5 on news that the company has won $500,000 worth of orders from
, a U.S. vendor of personalized e-business applications. Sporadic demand in a restricted market lifted
GEO Interactive Media
slipped 37p to
Banks were mixed.
added 11p to
Royal Bank of Scotland
slipped 6.5p to 948 and
Bank of Scotland
shed 32p to 593.
, in its latest review of the sector, recommends buying Barclays and
. It has moved
from "add" to "reduce," but takes exactly the opposite stance on
Europe's other bourses were mixed, with the
in Frankfurt down 11.66 to 7205.05 but the
in Paris up 51.95 to 6218.41.
In Frankfurt, tech stocks were especially hard hit. Software maker
fell 44.60 euros to 618.40 (U.S.$612.22),
fell 0.70 euro to 149.12 and
was down 1.80 euros to 131.20.
fell 2.46 euros to 65.24 after reporting that increased competition in North America had contributed to dragging down its overall profits 3.0% to $2.3 billion during the first quarter of this year.
also fell 1.06 euros to 69.93, but
rose 2.50 euros to 166.50 and
eked out a 0.05 euro gain to 24.65.