LONDON -- Leading U.K. shares again struggled to find direction on Tuesday despite overnight gains on Wall Street.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 138 points and the
rallied 66 points, but London's response was a measly 23-point rise in early trading. By midmorning, the
was down 3.9 points to 6401.3. The
initially climbed 25.6 points to 3441.8, before slipping back to stand just 11.3 points higher at 3427.8.
Internet service provider
, which suffered a major setback Monday after announcing that takeover talks with
had broken down, fell another 20p this morning to 345p ($5.18). Investors seemed to feel that
, the electrical retailer that owns 80% of Freeserve, will struggle to find another suitable buyer in the short term.
Monday's news that scientists have broken the back of mapping the human genome continues to boost drug stocks.
, two companies with the potential to develop drugs based on genetic information, made further good progress this morning with the former up 100p to
30.00 and the latter 40p higher to
was up 14p to
18.59 and merger partner
added 5.5p to 847.5. The U.S.
Food and Drug Administration
meets today to discuss Glaxo's drug
Cautious comment from brokerages and a fall in the price of one-month brent crude -- down from just over $32 to its current level of $30.94 -- prompted a bout of profit-taking among the oil majors.
slipped 8.5p to 640.5 and
was down 3p to 567.
Most of Europe's other major stock markets were also moderately lower, with the
in Paris down 33.89 to 6552.37 and the
in Frankfurt off 26.65 to 7000.54. The
index was up 39.6 to 6237.0.
German blue-chip tech shares were mixed, with
up 1.85 euros to 158.15 ($148.04),
2.45 euros lower to 123.35 and
up 0.80 euro to 213.80.
tanked 2.25 euros to 51.25 after
announced it was unloading half of its stake of shares in the utility. Hypovereinsbank was down 0.12 euro to 65.29 and
was up 0.20 euro to 42.40.
Major European telcos were mixed, with
up 0.48 euro to 21.03,
down 3.20 euros to 160.30 and
0.04 euro higher to 63.58.