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
was down 44 points to 6159, while the
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
, 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
, which has yo-yoed in and out of the FTSE, is also facing demotion to the
. The stock slumped 6.3% to 478 as the book building process by
to place a huge issue of new stock comes to a close. The transaction is connected to Baltimore's all-share purchase of
. Sources say the placing is likely to take place Thursday.
Meanwhile, online auction house
fell to another historic low. The shares were 1.75p lower to 24.
But it's not all bad news. Chip designer
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
, which has been licensed to palm-computer maker
, 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.
added 13p to
20.38, while merger partner
gained 9p to 914.
It was a similar story on the Continent, with some technology, media and telecom stocks falling heavily. By midsession, the
in Paris was down 98 points to 5969 and the
in Frankfurt down 59 points to 6473.
Phone handset maker
fell heavily, down 4.90 euros to 70.10 ($59.59), although the world's largest handset maker
managed to recoup initial losses and was up 0.13 euro to 35.64.
Other heavy fallers included Vivendi
-- which this week received the go-ahead from the European Commission to acquire
, including its pay-TV subsidiary
. 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
down 3.50 euros to 100.00 and
down 0.50 euro to 20.40.