LONDON -- On the day that Denmark goes to the polls to decide on whether to join the euro, Europe's markets were marginally lower.
The euro was steady around 0.8851 to the dollar as the Danes -- the first people to enjoy a referendum on membership of the single currency -- vote in a contest that is too close to call, although early exit polls suggest they will adopt the euro. The poll is being seen as a test of confidence in the euro after the concerted central bank intervention last week to try to halt its fall. As such, the result -- expected later tonight -- is being eagerly awaited by both supporters and opponents of the currency alike.
In London, equities were treading water, with little to entice investors into the market. The
was down just 29 points at 6240 and the
fell 47 points to 3702.
Telecom stocks looked a little jaded.
, whose rise did much to shore up the market earlier this morning, has run out of puff to stand 2.75p lower at 247.25.
was 12p lower to 716 and
shed 13p to stand at 497.
Technology stocks have also had a mixed session so far. Chip designer
took a bashing, falling 36.5p to 733.5.
also looked soft and the shares slipped 9% to 900p.
The UK's biggest ISP and portal
fell 5.25p to 236.75 after reporting that pretax losses more than doubled to
17.8 million for the first quarter to Aug. 19 from
8.56 million in the same period last year, due to higher sales and marketing costs.
Media stocks were in the spotlight.
recovered from its recent sharp slide to stand 6p higher at 444. But news that
, majority owned by
, has announced a product alliance with
did nothing for the media company's share price. Reuters' shares were 26p lower at
Europe's other major stock markets were lower. The
in Paris was down 24 points at 6296 and the
in Frankfurt was down 50 points at 6764.
fell 2.02 euros to 50.70 ($44.61) as
cut its earnings
forecast for this year for the carmaker by 15% to 4.85 euros.
Phone equipment makers also fell as investors, worried over the current market sentiment, began to take profits in some of the best-performing shares of this year. By midday,
was down 5.40 euros to 75.60 and
was down 2.03 euros to 44.77.