The FTSE 100 Index dipped into negative territory today after poor earnings from US groups General Electric and Bank of America knocked investor confidence.
The Footsie closed down 32.7 points at 5190.2 after hitting a new 13-month high earlier in the session, dragged lower by a 1% fall on Wall Street’s Dow Jones Industrial Average in early trading.
Bank of America said it lost more than $2bn (€1.34bn) after preferred dividends in the third quarter, steeper than analysts had been expecting.
One of the largest recipients of US government bailout funds, the bank also set aside more than $11bn (€7.3m) to offset bad loans, $5bn (€3.36bn) more than a year-ago.
The report followed weak results from General Electric, which said its profit dropped 44% in the most recent quarter after weakness in its financial unit, GE Capital.
The figures offset overnight cheer from US technology groups Google and IBM, which both delivered better-than-expected results.
Among London stocks in negative territory today, supermarket Sainsbury’s was the biggest faller, down 4% as takeover speculation cooled.
The stock slipped 13.8p to 328.7p, having soared by as much as 20% yesterday amid talk of renewed Qatari takeover interest.
Miners lost gains seen amid the early session optimism, with Kazakhmys later off 37p at 1258p and silver miner Fresnillo not far behind with a 21.5p fall to 823p.
But energy firms held on to gains after oil prices continued their recent ascent to stand near to $78m a barrel.
BP was 3.5p higher at 559.1p, while Royal Dutch Shell rose 21p to 1806p.
Lloyds Banking Group was another of the top flight risers after it agreed to offload its loss-making Halifax Estate Agencies division to the owner of Your Move for £1.
The latest move in the company’s asset disposal programme caused shares to rally 1.69p to 93.1p.
Elephant and Diamond car insurer Admiral was moving in the opposite direction despite a third quarter statement revealing a 22% rise in revenues to £294m (€322.9m) and assurances over the full-year result.
Shares in the insurance firm fell 30p to 1063p.
In the FTSE 250, National Express dived after a consortium led by the Cosmen family withdrew its £765m (€840.3m) offer for the public transport operator. With the company now set to raise funds through a rights issue, shares fell 23% or 109p to 362p.
Fellow transport group Stagecoach dropped 5% or 7.4p to 156.9p as the South West Trains operator previously agreed an outline deal with the suitors to take on National Express’s UK rail and bus business.
The biggest Footsie risers were Experian up 16.5p at 570p, G4S ahead 6.6p at 245.6p, Petrofac up 19p at 1013p and Lloyds Banking Group up 1.69p at 93.1p.
The biggest Footsie fallers were Sainsbury’s down 13.8p at 328.7p, Burberry Group off 19.5p at 557p, TUI Travel down 7.9p at 248.1p and British Airways down 6.8p at 214.1p.