European Midday Update: Techs, Telcos Spread the Flu in Major Bourses

Losses on the Dow and Nasdaq start the day off lower, while suffering tech stocks are holding markets down.
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LONDON -- The falls in the

Dow

and the

Nasdaq

overnight meant the London market was lower Wednesday morning, although dealers reported that there was no real selling pressure. Midmorning, the

FTSE 100

was down 68.1 points to 6419.0 and the

Techmark

index of leading technology stocks was down 233.2 points to 5262.3.

The techs and the biotechs are under the weather, and while the tech bubble has not burst, it's certainly got a slow puncture this morning.

"I don't really fancy this today, that Nasdaq fall is quite worrying," commented a leading market maker. "We could easily be 100 points the wrong way".

Tuesday's market newcomer

lastminute.com

fell 90p to 397.5 (US$6.24), just 17.5p above the offer price of 380. Are there going to be any profits for the little people who were awarded just 35 shares each? Probably not.

A few fuses have blown in the techs, with

Baltimore Technologies

falling 650p to 128.00 pounds.

Durlacher Corporation

was down 260p to 25.97 pounds and

ARM Holdings

(ARMHY)

fell 386p to 42.85 pounds.

Sema

, which this morning announced that it intends to buy fellow softwear and services provider

LHS Group

(LHSG)

of the U.S., lost an early 23p gain to stand 191p lower on balance at 15.05 pounds.

It wasn't one-way traffic, however.

Kewill Systems

gained 315p to 32.92 pounds before settling 67p higher at 30.45 pounds on news that the company has cooperated with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver a Web-based shipping and receiving solution to

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

, one of the world's largest retailers.

Biotech losers include

Cambridge Antibody

, which caught a 750p cold and stood at 25.87 pounds.

Oxford Glycoscience

was feeling poorly and was 470p lower to 22.35 pounds.

The major Continental stock markets were also lower, with technology and telecommunications shares posting some of the heaviest losses. The

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was down 146.36 to 7503.69 and the

CAC 40

in Paris was 135.97 lower to 6214.38.

In Frankfurt,

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

fell 2.51 euros to 85.59 (US$82.81), continuing its slide from Tuesday.

Epcos

(EPC) - Get Report

and

Siemens

(SMAWY)

also were lower, as was software maker

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

. Epcos fell 7 euros to 124.90, Siemens was down 13.09 euros to 157.71 and SAP was off 53.80 euros to 936.20.

Carmaker

BMW

was one of the biggest gainers in Frankfurt amid speculation the company was preparing to dump its loss-making Rover unit. BMW was up 2.58 euros to 29.89. That helped other auto companies like

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

, which was 0.21 euros higher to 65.87.

In Paris,

France Telecom

(FTE)

dropped 7 euros to 177.10 and

Alcatel

(ALA)

was 7.50 euros lower to 233.50.