A rally by mining stocks was not enough to keep the FTSE 100 above the 6,300 level, the latest resistance point in the January buyers’ market.
The blue chip index initially rose back above 6,300 – which it yesterday breached for the first time in five years – only to fall back to 6,293, down one point on the day.
Anglo American (AAL.L) led the FTSE, up 42p or 2.2% to £19.14 after a trading statement that included a $4 billion writedown on its Minsas-Rio iron ore mine in Brazil.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L), the drugs company leading fund managers such as Invesco Perpetual’s Neil Woodford are backing as a long-term growth story, rose 10.5p or 0.7% to £14.29 after Barclays Capital upgraded the stock to ‘overweight’ from ‘equalweight’.
Vodafone (VOD.L), also like GSK a Citywire Top Stock added 1.3p or 0.7% to 172.4p on talk that Verizon, its joint venture partner in the US, could buy the company’s stake.
BT (BT.L) shed 7.4p or 2.9% to 244.7p after Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded the fixed line telecoms company to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) was the biggest FTSE faller, sliding 20.4p or 5.5% to 347.3p on reports the taxpayer-owned lender was considering paying £250 million bonuses to its investment banking division, despite the prospect of a heavy fine for Libor rate fixing. Yesterday's downgrade to 'sell' by Goldman Sachs also weighed on the share price.
In Europe the Euronext 100 shed two points or 0.3% to 707.
On currency markets the pound revived against the dollar, up 0.2% at $1.5729.
The futures market is pointing to the US market falling slightly when Wall Street opens this afternoon. The main focus will be on the latest consumer confidence survey and quarterly results from Amazon, the online retailer, Pfizer, the drugs company, and Ford, the car maker.
William Hill confident about prospects
William Hill (WMH.L) gained nearly 10p or 2.7% to 376p after the bookmaker forecast a 20% rise in operating profits this year.
Chemring (CHG.L) firmed 2p or 0.6% to 297.8p after winning a small contract to supply chemical detection systems to the US Army.
PZ Cussons (PZC.L) fell 14p or 3.6% to 380.3p after the maker of Imperial Leather soap reported a 10% rise in first half profits.
National Grid (NG.L) shed 2.4p or 0.3% to 698p after the power firm said it was well positioned for the year ahead.
Among smaller companies Hyder Consulting (HYC.L) gained nearly 1% or 4.5p to 472p on a positive trading statement.
Petra Diamonds (PDL.L) fell nearly 5% or 6p to 114p after saying diamond production would be 7% less this year than previously forecast.
Colefax (CFX.L) slid 7.5p or 3.2% to 230p after the fabrics and furnishing company reported a fall in profits and described trading conditions as extremely challenging.