The headline index opened lower on the first business day after the summer bank holiday, thanks to gloomy economic news from Germany and uncertainty over the European Central Bank’s plans to contain the debt crisis.
Specialist chemicals maker Yule Catto was the strongest riser this morning, up 6.35 per cent on the back of announcing improved pre-tax profit in the first half.
Home shopping group Findel continued its share price rise, up almost six per cent in early trading. Findel rose by around 17 per cent last week after broker WH Ireland ramped up its price target.
Fellow retailer Ted Baker also added 2.38 per cent.
Defence firm Chemring was the biggest faller in early trading, down almost 12 per cent. The group, which said earlier this month it had received an offer of interest from private equity firm Carlyle Group, cut its operating profit outlook for the year by £15m this morning.
Elsewhere, miners clustered in the fallers, with Hochschild and Heritage Oil down 4.23 and 3.9 per cent respectively, as they suffered from falling metal prices.
Afren, an oil and gas company, also fell by 3.31 per cent despite it announcing record profits of £200m last week.
UK financials had a flat morning. HSBC was down 0.07 per cent in early trading, Lloyds Banking Group was up 0.13 per cent, RBS was up 0.22 per cent and Barclays was up a more substantial 1.14 per cent.
In Asia, the Nikkei closed down 0.57 per cent at 9,033.29. In the US the Dow Jones also closed down, shedding 0.25 per cent at 13,124.67.