LONDON -- Gone are the days of not-so-long ago when Europe's markets turned on a dime and whizzed up 100 points only to whiz back down again an hour later. Summer has put an end to that and the markets appear stuck in narrow trading ranges, at least for now.

For the

FTSE 100

, the range is 6300 to 6500, and by midmorning the main index was down 90.6 points to 6378.4. The

Techmark

was again tracking the

Nasdaq

and was 43.1 points lower to 3716.5.

There was a little life in the insurance sector first thing ahead of a statement by France's

AXA

concerning "orphan assets," which is likely to free up hundreds of millions of pounds for either bonus payments to investors or for acquisitions. The market hoped that other companies would follow suit, so buyers came out for

CGNU

, which moved up 10p in early trading, but is now marginally cheaper on balance at

10.85. Similarly,

Prudential plc

(PUK) - Get Report

was 10p higher at the start of trade, but lately was 10p lower to

10.10 with lack of follow-through support being blamed. AXA itself dipped 0.40 euro to 159.40 ($149.84).

In the media sector, bid speculation surrounding

United News & Media

(UNEWY)

refused to die down with the shares up 17p more to

10.07. Potential suitor

Granada Media

edged forward 3p to 582 and the recently unloved

Carlton Communications

(CCTVY)

rose a couple of pence to 802.

However, there's something not quite right at

BSkyB

(BSY)

, which is under pressure and 78p lower to

12.29 ahead of its interim earnings results Wednesday.

Oil stocks encountered further profit-taking as the price of one-month brent crude fell to $26.53. This morning,

BP Amoco

(BPA)

was down 5.5p to 559 and

Shell

(SC) - Get Report

was 4p off to 519.

Europe's other major stock markets were lower and trading in tight ranges. The

CAC 40

in Paris was down 10.33 to 6492.24 and the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt fell 11.12 to 7317.19. The

Neuer Markt's

tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index was just 4.1 lower to 6231.0.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

recouped some of Monday's

heavy losses caused by the announcement of its plans to buy U.S. wireless operator

VoiceStream

(VSTR)

for a pricey $50.7 billion. Midday, Telekom was up 2.46 euros, or 5.0%, to 51.25 ($47.79).

Elsewhere in European telcos,

France Telecom

(FTE)

rose 0.40 euro to 141.80 and

Telefonica

(TEF) - Get Report

fell 0.40 euro to 23.68.

In Frankfurt,

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

continued to fall amid concern about the carmaker's second-quarter figures due for release Wednesday. DaimlerChrysler was down 0.92 euro to 57.08.

Volkswagen

fell 0.85 euro to 45.15 and in Paris, French auto maker

Peugeot

fell 4.70 euros to 232.10 despite posting a surge in first-half sales.