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.


FTSE 100

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

Cambridge Anitbody

, up 50p to

20.12 (US$32.00), and

Oxford Glycoscience

, 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


(BVSN) - Get Report

, a U.S. vendor of personalized e-business applications. Sporadic demand in a restricted market lifted

JSB Software

87p to

17.00, but

GEO Interactive Media

slipped 37p to


Banks were mixed.


(BCS) - Get Report

added 11p to

16.50, but

Royal Bank of Scotland

slipped 6.5p to 948 and

Bank of Scotland

shed 32p to 593.

Credit Lyonnais

, in its latest review of the sector, recommends buying Barclays and

Lloyds TSB

. It has moved



from "add" to "reduce," but takes exactly the opposite stance on

Standard Chartered


Europe's other bourses were mixed, with the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt down 11.66 to 7205.05 but the

CAC 40

in Paris up 51.95 to 6218.41.

In Frankfurt, tech stocks were especially hard hit. Software maker


(SAP) - Get Report

fell 44.60 euros to 618.40 (U.S.$612.22),



fell 0.70 euro to 149.12 and


(EPC) - Get Report

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.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

also fell 1.06 euros to 69.93, but

France Telecom


rose 2.50 euros to 166.50 and


(TEF) - Get Report

eked out a 0.05 euro gain to 24.65.