Mining shares bore the brunt of losses, although Anglo American bucked the trend, adding 2.1 per cent, as chief executive Cynthia Carroll announced she was to step down.
On the FTSE All-Share, whiteboard maker Promethean dropped 7.14 per cent. Earlier this month its shares lost almost one-third of their value as it issued a profit warning.
Publisher Trinity Mirror lost 6.15 per cent in early deals. Earlier this week it was hit with claims over phone hacking.
Miners Lonmin, Kazakhmys, African Barrick Gold, Centamin and Avocet Mining fell in early deals as metal prices dropped. African Barrick Gold this morning lost 2.74 per cent as it downgraded its 2012 output forecast.
Outside of the miners, retailer Laura Ashley fell 5.46 per cent.
At the other end of the spectrum, insurer CPP Group added more than eight per cent, following news that it had set out a framework with the City watchdog for an ongoing regulatory probe.
Retailer JD Sports was up more than three per cent, while NMC Health rose 3.10 per cent in early deals.
Engineer Weir Group was up by 2.25 per cent, while South African conglomerate Lonrho rose 2.44 per cent.
Brewer Fuller Smith & Turner was up by 2.15 per cent.
UK financial shares had a mixed morning. HSBC was down 0.98 per cent in early trading, RBS was down 0.86 per cent, Barclays was down 1.2 per cent. Only Lloyds Banking Group showed a gain, rising 0.78 per cent.
In Asia, the Nikkei lost recent gains and closed down 1.35 per cent. In the US, the Dow Jones closed up 0.2 per cent.