LONDON -- The FTSE 100 broke below the 6000 level for a few fleeting minutes Wednesday morning before recovering to 6008.5 -- an overall fall of 78.3 points. It's too soon to say at the moment whether this is the beginning of a spirited comeback or merely brief respite from an ongoing downward trend.

The

Techmark

showed no sign of halting its recent slump, and was down a further 113.0 points to 2804.1. Major casualties in the tech sector include

BATM Advanced Communications

down 255p at

30.37 ($44.64) and

CMG

258p lower at

31.18.

Telecom stocks weren't far behind.

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

took another beating, with the price down 7p at 248 -- a 37% loss in the past 11 weeks. Vodafone must sell

Orange

as part of the agreement made when it bought

Mannesmann

(MNNSY)

. However, investors are now worried that the terms of sale are likely to be challenged by regulators if any share deal is included, as this would leave Vodafone still holding shares in Orange.

British Telecom

(BTY)

slipped 18p to 854 and

Colt Telecom

(COLTY)

shed 102p to

17.03.

Media stocks completed the picture of misery, as

Pearson

fell 26p to

16.99 and

Reuters

(RTRSY)

was 47p lower at 888.

Europe's other stock markets were lower. The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was down 108.0 at 6,919.7 and the

CAC 40

in Paris was 128.1 lower at 6020.5. The Neuer Markt's tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index was off 194.6 at 5766.1.

In Frankfurt, big techs suffered the hardest after the Nasdaq's sharp plunge Tuesday afternoon.

Siemens

(SMAWY)

fell 3.95 euros to 142.75 ($129.40),

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

was down 3.76 euros at 122.00 and software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

dropped 20.95 euros to 538.15.

Carmakers were able to buck the downward trend, as

BMW

climbed 0.25 euros to 30.95 and

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

rose 0.33 euros to 61.25. Not all old economy stocks were not spared, however, as industrial giant

Thyssen Krupp

plunged 2.60 euros to 20.35 after posting disappointing earnings.

Major European telecoms were all lower, with

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

down 2.20 euros at 56.50,

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

off 0.38 euro at 20.07 and

France Telecom

(FTE)

5.80 euros lower at 131.50.