The leading share index slipped back under the 5,800 mark this morning, as weak Chinese services sector data weighed on investor sentiment.
Mining stocks were hit, as the poor outlook from Asia raised concerns about raw demand.
Leading the fallers in early trade was Lamprell, down more than 32 per cent, as it issued its fourth profit warning since the spring.
Transport company FirstGroup slid more than 18 per cent as the government cancelled its decision to award the West Coast Main Line franchise to the group, and rerun the competition process.
Russian oil and gas producer Ruspetro fell 7.16 per cent this morning, while the City of London Investment Trust, which invests in emerging markets, fell 4.57 per cent as it announced it would issue more shares.
Home shopping group Findel sank 4.4 per cent despite it reporting a 7.9 per cent increase in first-half sales.
At the other end of the spectrum, regeneration group St Modwen Properties added 3.73 per cent in early trading.
Specialist healthcare company BTG was up more than three per cent as it boosted its revenue expectations for the full year.
Airline easyJet added 2.95 per cent on news that it raised profit guidance after a strong summer.
Elsewhere, publisher Trinity Mirror and property developer Development Securities rose 2.94 and 2.48 per cent respectively.
UK banks had a mixed morning. HSBC rose 0.67 per cent, while RBS was up 0.53 per cent. Barclays was down 0.09 per cent and Lloyds Banking Group lost 0.79 per cent.
In Asia, the Nikkei closed 0.45 per cent down at a three-week closing low, while in the US the Dow Jones closed down 0.24 per cent.