LONDON -- The continuing high oil prices -- and the protests they caused -- together with the overnight falls on Wall Street were inevitably taking their toll on Europe's markets on Tuesday.
appeared to be coping relatively well, given the general negativity, but this strength was an illusion, as it was built solely on gains in three heavily weighted stocks:
. By midday, the FTSE 100 was down 35 points at 6375 but a better illustration of the general sentiment was provided by the FTSE 250, which was down 94 points at 6807.
The inexorable rise in crude has given the two oil majors a license to print money. BP added 3p to 660 ($9.24) and Shell rose to a session high of 615.5, but the profit takers moved in and by midday it was down 2p at 608.
Meanwhile, BT finally got a boost by the news of alliance plans with
. The shares tried to stay above the 800p resistance level but the strength wasn't all that impressive. BT was up 4.5p at 799.5.
It was also another red day for the
, which lost a 58 points to stand at 3770. More pain may be on the horizon, as investors nervously wait for what is about to happen on the other side of the Atlantic.
Some major names came under pressure.
was down 24p to
was down 17p to 502
But there was a glimmer of light in the shape of biotech company
. The company reported a pretax loss for the half-year of
7.3 million. It also said it has formed an agreement with
to receive early access to new generation mass spectrometry and that it has entered into a protein chip technology agreement with
. The firm says it is looking to list on the
Nasdaq Composite Index
. The shares rose 60p to
Europe's Continental markets were also lower, with the Nasdaq's fall inevitably taking its toll on the tech shares. By midsession, the
in Paris was down 51 points at 6471 and the
in Frankfurt was off 29 points at 6863.
was down 2.35 euros at 172.65,
fell 2.70 euros to 99.30 and software maker
was 1.90 euros higher at 263.90.
In Paris, earnings were driving some stocks. Tiremaker
tanked 1.48 euros to 31.32 ($26.73), after posting a hefty drop in first-half profits.
Prior to the release of first-half results for construction and telecoms group
, the company's shares were up 1.02 euros at 64.55.
Other telecoms were mixed, as
climbed 1.00 euro to 124.00,
rose 0.42 euros to 42.46 and
fell 0.02 euros to 23.68.