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LONDON -- At first glance, it was another damp, miserable day in London. The

FTSE 100

struggled to make headway in either direction, and as lunchtime approached, the index stood 6 points higher at 6271.

The tech sector managed to stage some kind of a bounce this morning. Whether this is sustainable probably depends on how the

Nasdaq Composite Index

performs this afternoon. The

Techmark 100

was up 40.03 points to 3633.32.

Optical component manufacturer

Bookham Technologies

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gained 85p to

28.90 ($41.87), while chip designer

ARM Holdings

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gained 16p to 683. Even online auction site

QXL

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attracted a few buyers, as it rose 2p to 37.

In the main index,

British Telecom

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took an early tumble on press reports that it is not about to imminently break itself up. However, as lunchtime approached, it recovered to stand just 2p lower at 734. Fellow telecom Colossus

Vodafone

(VOD)

added 4p to 247.

Both

BP Amoco

(BP)

and

Shell

(SC)

posted gains on the back of higher crude prices. BP added 15p to 625.5, while Shell rose 14p to 584. Shell, together with the U.S.

Apache Corp.

(APA)

, is to buy New Zealand's

Fletcher Challenge Energy

division for $1.84 billion.

Barclays

(BCS)

shed 56p to

17.39, but looked to be approaching levels where many will be tempted to dip their toes back into the water.

Royal Bank of Scotland

also got heavily marked down. The shares stood down 69p to

13.89.

Europe's other major stock markets were higher early Tuesday, as the

CAC-40

in Paris was up 57.92 to 6168, and the

Xetra Dax

in Frankfurt was up 22.87 to 6703.7. The

Neuer Markt's

tech-heavy

Nemax 50

index, however, was 103.8 lower at 4441.4.

Carmaker

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

surged 2.25 euros to 54.00 ($46.88) after

Credit Suisse First Boston

rated the company's shares a buy. Rival

Volkswagen

was near unchanged at 55.44 euros.

E.ON

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dropped 1.15 euros to 58.45, after the utility said it expected earnings to drop due to falling electricity prices.

Telecom shares were mixed across the Continent, as

France Telecom

(FTE)

fell 4.00 euros to 104.50 amid continuing reports it will bid for

Equant

(ENT)

, which was up 2.90 euros, or 7.3%, to 42.90.

Deutsche Telekom

(DT)

was up 0.43 euro to 37.94, and

Telefonica

(TEF)

was up 0.21 euro to 22.76.