The London market slipped into losses today after a big jump in US oil supplies fuelled concerns over weak energy demand.
The FTSE 100 Index was in positive territory for much of the day but ended 3.2 points lower at 5139.4 as oil sank below $69 a barrel and knocked the shares of many heavyweight blue-chip stocks.
Oil giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell were both off more than 1%, down 8.3p to 552.8p and 22p to 1738p respectively.
Wall Street also opened narrowly lower this afternoon as US investors awaited more hints on the state of the recovery from the Federal Reserve.
In London, the Bank of England’s September rates meeting contained few surprises for investors to focus on.
But the pound was boosted by the absence of further hints in the minutes about a potential cut in the deposit rate at which banks leave money with the central bank. Sterling gained ground agains the euro and the dollar.
The late decline of the wider marker overshadowed fashion chain Burberry, which sashayed to the top of the risers board on its return to London Fashion Week.
Burberry added more than 5% or 25.9p to 502.5p after commentators hailed the company’s return to the catwalk.
Insurer Prudential was also in demand after Cazenove upgraded several firms in the life insurance sector, adding 22.5p to 587p or 4%. Aviva and Old Mutual also received positive comments but struggled, shedding 8.8p to 412.7p and 1.2p to 97.65p.
City broker UBS meanwhile called time on certain shares in the FTSE 250 pub sector as it warned a recent rally for shares had gone too far and that profit margins in leased and tenanted estates were unlikely to return to former highs.
Enterprise Inns, down 8% or 11.2p to 132.4p, and Greene King, off 11.6p at 436.3p, were among four sell recommendations.
Directories firm Yell topped the FTSE 250 fallers board after it said it would tap investors for £500 million as part of wider plans to tackle its £3.8 billion debt mountain. Shares fell 10p to 64.35p, or 13%.
Meanwhile investors mulled plans by Redrow and Barratt Developments to raise £150m (€166.5m) and £700m (€777m) respectively.
Redrow shares fell 6.4p to 227.1p, while Barratt added 7.2p to 275.7p.
In other corporate news, shares in Game Group dropped after it posted a 67% drop in half-year profits and said like-for-like sales were down by more than 16% in the year to date. Shares lost 0.4p to 171.7p.
Elsewhere travel specialist Holidaybreak gained almost 3%, or 8p, to 308p after it said that it expected to meet management expectations for the year.
The biggest Footsie risers were Burberry up 25.9p to 502.5p, Standard Chartered up 64p at 1544p, Prudential ahead 22.5p to 587p and Man Group, up 9.9p to 303.6p.
The biggest Footsie fallers were Liberty International down 57p at 507p, British Land off 23p at 490p, Hammerson off 15.5p at 417.5p and Eurasian Natural Resources down 27.5p at 885p.