Mixed economic data from the US added to fears over high oil prices and left world markets struggling to make headway today.
The FTSE 100 Index was up 12.4 points at 5,927.9 but crude remained around $108 a barrel, stoking fears the high price would stunt already weakened global growth.
HSBC was among the biggest risers as it recovered from yesterday’s 4% falls when investors were left unimpressed by 2011 results, despite its £13.8billion profits haul. The bank’s shares were up 5.8p at 559.3p.
Royal Bank of Scotland was up 0.4p at 28.3p and Barclays was 0.2p higher at 244p even though the Treasury closed two tax loopholes and said it would claw back more than £500million the bank had avoided paying.
Miners supported the market with Fresnillo up 48p at £19.06 and Antofagasta ahead 24p at £13.64.
Costa coffee owner Whitbread was among the biggest losers however after it revealed a further slowdown at its Premier Inn business. Shares were down 11p at £17.09.
In the FTSE 250 Index, housebuilder Persimmon was the biggest climber, up 13%, after it said it would return £1.9billion to shareholders over the next decade. Shares were up 79.5p at 706.5p.
Football pitch operator Goals Soccer Centres saw its shares climb 13% after it revealed a 6% hike in sales in the first eight weeks of the year after it called a halt to a recent expansion spree. Shares rose 12p to 106p.
The biggest Footsie risers included Essar Energy ahead 5.8p at 113.4p, Evraz ahead 14.4p at 417.1p and WPP ahead 19.5p at 815p.
The biggest Footsie fallers were GKN down 10.3p at 222.2p, Hargreaves Lansdown off 9.8p at 439.5p, BAE Systems down 6.3p at 309.7p, and CRH off 26p at £13.42.
Steven McKay, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, noted that risers included Plexus Holdings, which gained 1.92% at 106p.
Fallers included Cairn Energy which lost 0.8% to 353p and Nautical Petroleum which shed 2.64% to 367.38p.