The FTSE 100 Index closed two points lower at 5852.6 today as volatile trading and eurozone worries rattled investor confidence.
A recovery in oil prices helped nudge some commodity-based stocks in the right direction, including Vedanta Resources up 3%, or 32p at £10.86 and Evraz 11.1p higher at 271.9p.
However, it failed to provide a lift to oil giants, with BP down 3.3p to £4.41 after it said it was planning to use some of the proceeds from the potential sale of its stake in Russian joint venture TNK-BP to increase its share in oil group Rosneft.
Banking stocks fared well, with Lloyds Banking Group up 0.9p to 40.2p, Royal Bank of Scotland ahead 7.3p at 275.8p and Barclays 1.7p stronger at 223.8p.
Pearson – the owner of the Financial Times newspaper – was another blue chip stock on the rise, up 35p to £12.17, after a broker upgrade.
The biggest Footsie fallers were Xstrata down 44p at £10.05, Reckitt Benckiser off 70p at £35.99, Glencore 6.2p lower at £3.62 and Imperial Tobacco off 34p at £23.65.
Outside the top flight, HMV shares endured another tough session – off 0.3p at 2.8p, a fall of 9% – after it said like-for-like sales in the 20 weeks to September 15 were down 11.6% on a year earlier.
Stuart Lamont, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, noted Amec up 2.5% to £11.72 as well as Premier Oil falling 1.5% to 364.95p, BG Group losing 1.1% to £12.46 and Weir Group shedding 1.1% to £17.71.