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.
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
index of leading tech stocks started 11 points higher, but was lately 225.4 points lower, or 4.4%, on balance at 4846.4.
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.
weighed in with a gain of 29p to 841 and
moved up 113p to 27.05 pounds.
sailed 30p higher to 669 after announcing a sparkling set of annual results and demerger proposals.
The market initially liked
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
falling 19p to 12.32 pounds, and
easing 7p to 350.
lost 109p to 20.20 pounds before picking up to stand 59p lower at 20.70 pounds, and
dropped 143p to 12.60 pounds.
The techs were worse.
fell 11.00 pounds to 110.50, while
dropped 240p to 28.72 pounds.
fell 187p to 25.37 pounds, and
, which announced Wednesday that it intends to merge with U.S. software and services provider
, fell 89p to 13.54 pounds.
was struggling again, down 12.5 at 400p, with just
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
, the market makers, on the bid.
rose 18.5p to 572.5 after
confirmed the sale of its Alaskan businesses to
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
in Frankfurt was up 121.79 at 7536.25, and the
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
, which fell on news from the
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
up 6.87 euros at 135.37 and
4.21 euros higher at 157.30, while
fell 15 euros to 906.
dipped 0.50 euros to 30.55 after surging Wednesday amid reports the company was preparing to dump its loss-making
unit. Chemicals giant
climbed 1.38 euros to 43.40 after the company reported surging 1999 profits.