The London market opened on the back foot, following Chinese data that pointed to a continuing slowdown of global growth.
The FTSE fell 16.4 points to 6349.1, after official data showed the world’s second largest economy grew at an annual rate of 6.7% in the first three months of the year, its slowest quarterly pace in seven years.
However, Brent Crude lifted 15 cents to just under 44 US dollars a barrel ahead of a meeting of Opec and non-Opec oil producers in Doha this weekend to discuss a deal to freeze output in a bid to lift prices.
BP edged up 0.5p to 359.2p, while Royal Dutch Shell was up 1p at 1814.5p.
Housebuilders continued to dominate the FTSE 100 fallers board after analysts said yesterday there were signs that Persimmon’s sales were starting to slow.
Barratt Developments fell 13p to 509p, Taylor Wimpey was 3.7p lower at 173.3p, while Persimmon was down 20p to 1880p.
Elsewhere, retailer Mothercare showed signs of recovery after its shares slumped more than 20% yesterday following tough trading in its international business.
The baby goods and maternity chain said sales fell in all four international regions in the 11 weeks to March 26. Sales were down by 9.7% with currency movements stripped out, or 10.8% lower in actual currencies.
However, in this session shares lifted almost 2%, or 2.5p, to 152p.