LONDON -- U.K. investors made a mad flight to quality Thursday morning. The pharmaceutical sector was one of the biggest gainers, while the technology sector was licking its wounds, and it looks as though there may be a repeat of Wednesday's collapse.

The

FTSE 100

was up 45 points in the first five minutes of trading and has since extended the gain by 62.4 points to 6509.4. The

Techmark

index of leading tech stocks started 11 points higher, but was lately 225.4 points lower, or 4.4%, on balance at 4846.4.

In pharmaceuticals,

Glaxo Wellcome

(GLX)

set the tone with a gain of 63p to 18.80 pounds ($29.52), but has since slipped back to stand 43p higher at 18.60 pounds.

SmithKline Beecham

(SBH) - Get Report

weighed in with a gain of 29p to 841 and

AstraZeneca

(AZN) - Get Report

moved up 113p to 27.05 pounds.

Cruise liner

P&O

sailed 30p higher to 669 after announcing a sparkling set of annual results and demerger proposals.

The market initially liked

Freeserve's

(FREE)

third-quarter figures and statement, and the shares moved up 28p to 615, but lately the price was back to 590, a rise of just 3.5p.

The switch into pharmaceuticals is to the detriment of the telecom and media sectors, with

British Telecom

(BTY)

falling 19p to 12.32 pounds, and

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

easing 7p to 350.

Pearson

lost 109p to 20.20 pounds before picking up to stand 59p lower at 20.70 pounds, and

Reuters

(RTRSY)

dropped 143p to 12.60 pounds.

The techs were worse.

Baltimore Technologies

fell 11.00 pounds to 110.50, while

Kewill Systems

dropped 240p to 28.72 pounds.

Durlacher

fell 187p to 25.37 pounds, and

Sema

, which announced Wednesday that it intends to merge with U.S. software and services provider

LHS Group

(LHSG)

, fell 89p to 13.54 pounds.

lastminute.com

(LMIN)

was struggling again, down 12.5 at 400p, with just

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

, the market makers, on the bid.

BP Amoco

(BPA)

rose 18.5p to 572.5 after

Atlantic Richfield

(ARC) - Get Report

confirmed the sale of its Alaskan businesses to

Phillips Petroleum

(P)

.

The Continent's stock markets were all solidly in positive territory, as investors largely ignored the monetary policy meeting by the

European Central Bank

this afternoon. The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was up 121.79 at 7536.25, and the

CAC 40

in Paris was 74.06 higher at 6263.00.

In Frankfurt, losers were scattered throughout the various sectors, although shares were generally recovering from the broad selloff of the past few days. One of the biggest losers early on was

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

, which fell on news from the

Deutsche Boerse

that the stock would soon be reweighted in the Dax. By midday, the telco had recovered slightly and was only down 0.55 euros to 81.34 ($78.72).

Technology issues were mixed, with

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

up 6.87 euros at 135.37 and

Siemens

(SMAWY)

4.21 euros higher at 157.30, while

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

fell 15 euros to 906.

Carmaker

BMW

dipped 0.50 euros to 30.55 after surging Wednesday amid reports the company was preparing to dump its loss-making

Rover

unit. Chemicals giant

Bayer

(BAYZY)

climbed 1.38 euros to 43.40 after the company reported surging 1999 profits.