Worrying economic data saw banks drag London’s leading shares index into the red today.
The FTSE 100 Index was down nearly 1%, or 54.1 points to 5,758.1, after a US employment report showed a disappointing number of jobs created in April, triggering nerves ahead of Friday’s closely-watched non-farm payrolls report.
Banks were among the biggest losers after Swiss group UBS and Asia-focused Standard Chartered missed forecasts on first quarter profits.
Barclays was nearly 6% lower, off 12.6p to 213.7p, while Lloyds Banking Group retreated 1.5p to 32.1p. Standard Chartered was 4%, or 59p lower at £14.53.
Next topped the risers board however after it said it remained on track for annual profits of between £560million and £610million. Shares were 3% or 75p higher at £29.71, meaning its stock has risen a third in the last year.
Outside the top flight, Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group slumped 13% or 13.5p to 87.6p after it axed its dividend in the wake of a 60% slide in annual profits to £90.2million.
Shares in JD Wetherspoon were 0.1p higher at 408.5p after it reported an improved trend in like-for-like sales but said continued tax and trading pressures meant it was slightly more cautious about this year.
The biggest Footsie risers included Legal & General ahead 2.7p at 121.8p, Burberry up 32p at £15.15 and Intercontinental Hotels ahead 32p at £15.16.
Among the biggest Footsie fallers was Kazakhmys off 27.5p at 850p.
David Barclay, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, highlighted that Nautical Petroleum had gained 2.1% to close the day at 335.8p. Elsewhere, Wood Group added 0.57% to 789p.
Fallers included Cairn Energy which lost 2.49% to 340.1p and Melrose Resources which fell 1.64% to 120.5p.