Miners and banks led the FTSE 100 lower in early trading as fears over stalling global growth took their toll.
With the grim scene in the Eurozone still casting a shadow investors were shying away from riskier assets.
Spain today formally requested a bailout loan for its banking sector from its eurozone partners. The loan is for up to 100bn euros (£80bn).
Pharmaceuticals giant Shire was the biggest individual blue chip faller, dropping 9.5 per cent on competition concerns after US approval of a new generic version of the British firm's Adderall XD attention deficit hyper disorder (ADHD) treatment.
Miners were down, failing to be buoyed by a rally in copper prices which bounced after hitting a six-month low on Friday.
Heavyweight Rio Tinto eased off by 0.8 per cent while BHP Billiton shed 0.6 per cent. UBS said it was cutting its earnings estimates for the pair between three and four per cent ahead of new mining and carbon taxes that take effect in Australia next week.
In banking Lloyds was off by 0.7 per cent and Barclays 0.8 per cent. RBS, which has been plagued by ongoing problems with its computer systems, was down 0.4 per cent. It said today that things were getting back to normal.
Supermarket giant Morrisons was off by 2.2 per cent while drinks firm SABMiller dipped by 1.8 per cent.
BT edged down by 1.4 per cent and engineer GKN 1.3 per cent.
On the up side gold miner Randgold Resources nudged up by 1.4 per cent while steelmaker Polymetal put on 1.2 per cent.
Global security giant G4S headed up by 0.3 per cent and engineer Rolls-Royce 0.3 per cent. Insurer Old Mutual put on 0.3 per cent.
Luxury retailer Burberry was up 0.4 per cent.
On the FTSE 250 Essar Energy lost 3.9 per cent as investors were left unimpressed by its full year results.
For the 12 months to 31 December 2010, the company reported core earnings of $697m (£447m).
In Asia the Nikkei closed down 0.7 per cent and the Hang Seng 0.5 per cent.