Markets on both sides of the Atlantic were in negative territory today after disappointing figures from Goldman Sachs and computer hardware giant IBM.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was more than 100 points lower at one stage after the investment bank provided the latest sign of weakness in revenues in the current corporate results season.
The FTSE 100 Index closed in the red, although it pulled back from the worst of its losses to stand 8.8 points down at 5139.5.
IT firms were among the biggest fallers on London's Footsie after Cable & Wireless Worldwide issued a profits warning.
News overnight on Wall Street of lower than expected revenues at IBM added to pressure on the sector.
The UK economy was also in the spotlight after public finance figures revealed worst-than-expected borrowing in June.
However this failed to dent progress by the pound, which rose 0.4% to 1.53 dollars and 0.6% to 1.18 euros.
Among stocks, shares in C&W tumbled 17% after it said non-contracted public sector spending had "slowed significantly" since the emergency Budget last month and would hit trading as a result.
C&W's slump of 14.6p to 69p comes just four months after it split from its regional telecoms business.
BT, which is a supplier of networks and IT systems for major organisations, was caught in the sell-off as its shares slipped 3% or 4.5p to 134.5p.
The update also impacted outsourcing firms, with Serco shares down 33p at 537p and Capita off 22.5p to 718p ahead of interim results tomorrow.
In the FTSE 250 Index, IT services firm Logica was 7p lower at 101.7p after Panmure Gordon cut its price target and said it expected the firm to be cautious about prospects in the UK public sector when it posts half-year results.
Elsewhere, BP spent most of the session in positive territory as experts said a seepage near its ruptured Gulf of Mexico well was unlikely to be related to the present crisis.
But it lost gains late in the session to stand 0.4p lower at 387.45p.
Outside the top flight, shares in Enterprise Inns jumped after it said average income per pub during the third quarter of its financial year was in line with a year earlier, compared with a decline of 3% in the six months to March 31.
Shares rose 4.3p to 98.3p and helped rival Punch Taverns improve 4p to 71p.
But De La Rue slumped 16%, or 147p to 776.5p, after the world's largest printer of banknotes said quality issues at one of its plants had forced it to suspend production of some of its banknote paper.
The biggest Footsie risers are Rio Tinto up 124.5p at 3173p, Vedanta Resources up 88p at 2316p, Xstrata ahead 33.7p at 951.9p and BHP Billiton up 55.5p at 1872p.
The biggest Footsie fallers are Cable & Wireless Worldwide down 14.6p to 69p, Serco off 33p at 537p, ICAP down 14.2p at 392.6p and BT down 4.5p to 134.5p.