Midday Roundup: Microsoft trial news hits UK shares

Cloud from Washington DC hovers over City, as high-tech news bubbles closer to home

At midday leading UK shares were flat as investors worried about fallout from the decision against software giant Microsoft, delivered after UK market close Friday. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson backed the government's main charges against the software maker in a "finding of fact" document last week and investors fear the decision could cause a plunge in American tech shares.

At noon the FTSE 100 held at about 6,355, down 1.5, above its 6,339.8 low but off the 6,371.9 morning high.

The Microsoft news overshadowed a raft of mergers and acquisitions news in computing and telecoms shares. Colt Telecom (CTM: quote ) shares rose ahead of interim earnings figures tomorrow. Orange (ORA: quote ) got a boost from reports that the UK telecom company might receive a £45bn bid from France Telecom. Even Marks & Spencer, the struggling retailer, got a boost on news that its more e-commerce-savvy rival Tesco might make an offer, though M&S shares fell 3.5 to 289.75p by noon.

PDA maker Psion (PON: quote ) slid 63 to 1695 at noon after HSBC Securities moved the stock to "sell" from "hold", arguing the group's shares had risen too far in recent weeks.

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