Miners and retailers were under pressure today as the FTSE 100 Index gave up some of the 500 points secured during last week’s rally.
Commodity-based stocks occupied the first five places on the fallers board, led by platinum firm Lonmin after a fall of 11% or 97p to 755p.
The top flight index was off by more than 2% or 94 points to 4194 by mid-morning.
The shortened risers board featured Halifax Bank of Scotland, which rose 1.4p to 92.7p and supermarket group Morrisons, which cheered 1.5p to 244p.
But the rest of the retail sector was not faring so well, given the release of more poor sales data from John Lewis and expectations that Tesco will post its worst sales figures since the early 1990s tomorrow.
A poll of analysts ahead of the third quarter update points to UK like-for-like sales growth of 1.9%. Tesco shares were 1% or 2.7p lower at 292.6p.
The latest John Lewis weekly sales figures, which showed another 13% drop in sales, unsettled shares in a number of rivals.
Marks & Spencer lost 4% or 9.5p to 216.25p, while B&Q owner Kingfisher fell 6.9p to 112.6p and fashion chain Next dipped 60p to 1048p, a drop of almost 6%.
In the FTSE 250 Index, Currys owner DSG International was 0.75p lower at 11p, while Debenhams fell 0.75p to 23.5p.
One of the biggest gains of the session came from furniture retailer Land of Leather after the chain confirmed it had received preliminary takeover approaches. It also revealed a 47% drop in sales orders for the past three months, but this failed to prevent shares from jumping 38% on the takeover interest, up 3.25p to 9.75p.
New Star Asset Management fell almost 60%, or 8.33p to 5.67p, after it said it was in talks with its banks, fuelling speculation it was working on a possible debt-for-equity swap.