The FTSE 100 fell back slightly yesterday as looses by bank offset gains made by miners and energy firms. The index slipped 0.2% to close at 5,310.
Fears over a possibly windfall tax in the Pre-Budget Report hurt banks: RBS and Lloyds were the weakest performers, down 4.7% and 4.1% respectively; Barclays lost 2.1% and HSBC was 1.5% lower.
Miners were generally higher. Top performer of the day was Antofagasta, up 2.2%; Rio Tinto added 1.4%, BHP Billiton rose 1% and Lonmin gained 0.9%, but ENRC lost 2.1% and Fresnillo shed 1.8%.
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In Europe, the Paris CAC 40 fell seven points to 3,840; and the German Xetra Dax was 33 points lower at 5,785.
In the US, the Dow Jones rose just 0.01% to 10,390; the S&P 500 fell 0.25% to 1,103; and the Nasdaq Composite gained 1% to 2,194. The Dow was up 0.8% for the week, the S&P 500 1.3% and the Nasdaq fell 0.2% to 2,189.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 and the broader Topix index both fell 0.3% to close at 10,140 and 896 respectively. In China, the Shanghai Composite index lost 1% to 3,296; and the CSI 300 fell 1.2% to 3,624.
Brent spot was trading at $76.28 early today, and in New York, crude oil was at $73.87. Spot gold was trading at $1,159 an ounce, silver was at $18.17 and platinum was at $1,451
In the forex markets this morning, sterling was trading against the US dollar at 1.6359 and against the euro at 1.1038. The dollar was trading at 0.675 against the euro and 89.02 against the Japanese yen.
And today, latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show the growth in high street sales is slowing after a "disappointing" month. Like for like sales in November grew by just 1.8%, down from 3.8% in October and 2.6% the previous November. BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: "We're the only major economy still in recession. Uncertainty over jobs and future tax increases and government spending cuts is making customers more cautious,"
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