Weaker currency and lower bond yields hit the big banks as Royal Bank of Scotland tumbled by 2.8% to 214.9p.
Lloyds (LLOY), which taxpayers have a 6% stake in, fell 2% to 64.7p and Barclays (BARC) declined 1.7%.
Miners failed to drag the FTSE 100 out of negative territory. The pound slumped to a three-month low, helping to boost overseas earnings for some of the blue chips.
West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil slipped lower to $52.24 and $55.36 per barrel, respectively.
Gold gained 0.5% to $1,201 per ounce and copper nudged lower to $5,886 per tonne.
To mark Martin Luther King Day, the US stock markets are as usual closed.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was 1% lower at 22,718 and Shanghai’s SSE Composite index slipped into negative territory.
FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS
Gold producer Acacia Mining (ACA) confirmed it is in preliminary discussions regarding a possible tie-up with Endeavour Mining, which is developing a portfolio of mines in the prolific West African region.
Asset manager Ashmore (ASHM) was 4% higher despite a decline in second quarter assets under management. CEO Mark Coombs said stronger emerging asset prices in December continued into the New Year and flagged a strong performance in 2017.
Brick maker Ibstock (IBST) said that national brick imports declined significantly over the year to 31 December, which concerned investors.
SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Self-tanning products developer Innovaderma (IDP) plummeted 31.8% on a wave of profit taking following its trading update. Revenue grew by over 80% year-on-year due to the strong performance of its self-tanning brand Skinny Tan. IDP’s shares soared by approximately 230% over the last six weeks.
Software company Wandisco (WAND) sparked 22.2% to 273.7p on record fourth quarter bookings of $6m as total bookings for the year increased by 72%.
Global Energy Development (GED) decided to reinvent itself as Nautilus Services following a reverse takeover. It conditionally agreed to buy 11 offshore subsea service vessels and a barge vessel to focus on the subsea oilfield services sector.
Publishing services provider Ingenta (ING) gained 18% as investors were excited by its announcement that it will pay its first dividend of 1p per share for the 2016 financial year.
South American-focused gold producer Orosur Mining (OMI) rose 9.8% to 16.8p on improved second quarter cash generation and a swing from a quarterly loss into profit.
Tethyan Resources (TETH) reported encouraging intercepts of copper based on its first test results from samples taken from its Suva Ruda project.
Story provided by StockMarketWire.com