European Midday Update: Wall Street Fall Dampens Europe's Mood - TheStreet

LONDON -- Technology and wireless stocks all took hits following Wall Street's overnight fall.

London's equities headed lower, though the release of the minutes from the October meeting of the

Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee

-- which reported that the committee voted 9 to 0 to keep rates on hold, suggesting that rates have probably peaked in the UK -- provided some relief.

As lunchtime approached, the

FTSE 100

was down 44 points to 6159, while the

Techmark 100

shed 75 points to 3287.

Not surprisingly, the tech sector bore the brunt of the fall. The biggest 10 fallers in the FTSE came from the tech, media and telecom sector. The biggest loser among the blue chips was Internet portal

Freeserve

(FREE)

, whose position in the FTSE index looks to be in danger as its shares slumped 11% to 161.5p ($2.34).

Similarly, e-security firm

Baltimore Technologies

(BALT)

, which has yo-yoed in and out of the FTSE, is also facing demotion to the

FTSE 250

. The stock slumped 6.3% to 478 as the book building process by

Lehman Brothers

to place a huge issue of new stock comes to a close. The transaction is connected to Baltimore's all-share purchase of

Content Technologies

. Sources say the placing is likely to take place Thursday.

Meanwhile, online auction house

QXL

(QXLC)

fell to another historic low. The shares were 1.75p lower to 24.

But it's not all bad news. Chip designer

Parthus Technologies

(PRTH) - Get Report

had a good market after release of its third-quarter results. The company's loss widened but it also announced the launch of its much-vaunted chip

Infostream

, which has been licensed to palm-computer maker

Psion

, among others. Parthus rose to a session high of 308p, before easing back to stand up 5.4% at 283.5p.

Pharmaceutical stocks offered some refuge to strung-out investors.

Glaxo Wellcome

(GLX)

added 13p to

20.38, while merger partner

SmithKline Beecham

(SBH) - Get Report

gained 9p to 914.

It was a similar story on the Continent, with some technology, media and telecom stocks falling heavily. By midsession, the

CAC-40

in Paris was down 98 points to 5969 and the

Xetra DAX

in Frankfurt down 59 points to 6473.

Phone handset maker

Alcatel

(ALA)

fell heavily, down 4.90 euros to 70.10 ($59.59), although the world's largest handset maker

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

managed to recoup initial losses and was up 0.13 euro to 35.64.

Other heavy fallers included Vivendi

(VVDIY)

-- which this week received the go-ahead from the European Commission to acquire

Seagram

, including its pay-TV subsidiary

Canal Plus

. Vivendi was down 4.00 euros to 79.50 and Canal Plus was down 6.00 euros to 162.00.

Telcos were mostly lower, with

France Telecom

(FTE)

down 3.50 euros to 100.00 and

KPN

(KPN)

down 0.50 euro to 20.40.