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FRANKFURT -- Euro bourses started the new week under selling pressure, with investors edgy about Friday's weak performance on Wall Street, losses overnight in most of Asia and rising yields in European bond markets.

But stock losses were mild, with continued high liquidity encouraging many to buy into weakness. Also, merger hopes and another round of dollar strength against the euro, which is good for European exporters, helped to limit stock losses. The euro this morning dipped to 1.1214, a new record low, but has rebounded somewhat and was last bid at 1.1257.

In Frankfurt, the

Xetra Dax

was down 68 to 5029. In London, the


was down 35 to 5819. In Paris, the


was down 8 to 4139.

Sharp gains last week in U.S. Treasury yields have spilled into Europe, and today German 10-year yields, Europe's benchmark, shot up 7 basis points to 3.86%.

Despite the broad market losses, most of the big movers today were to the positive side. U.K. hotel and gaming firm

Ladbroke Group

soared 18.3% on news that it planned to pay $1.9 billion to buy hotel operator


, whose shares rose 11.0%.


jumped 5.6% after the German auto maker's board Friday canned chief

Bernd Pischetsrieder

and his chief rival. The public boardroom battle, almost unheard of in Germany, was sparked by losses at BMW's U.K. subsidiary Rover. BMW shares were up today mainly on speculation that a battle-weakened BMW will be vulnerable to a takeover.


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gained 2% after a

Financial Times

report that the oil giant had proposed an $8.5 billion plan to revitalize the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

Shares of German engineering firm


jumped 13.2% after the company reported a 28% gain in its fiscal 1998 profit.

Christina Pollowy, an institutional sales adviser at

Sal Oppenheim

in Frankfurt, called recent losses a correction and thinks chances are good that support just below current levels will hold. But that does not mean any move higher will be smooth. "I think we are going to see a lot of volatility," she warned.