FTSE rally ends as investors eye Eurozone bond auctions

The rally on the FTSE 100 yesterday stalled in early trading today as concerns over upcoming Eurozone bond auctions and slightly weaker commodity stocks took their toll.

Heavyweight miners failed to keep up the gains made yesterday which were fuelled by positive data from China showing the country's demand for metals had risen.

Wall Street closed on a five-month high after an upbeat forecast by aluminium company Alcoa and strong performances in bank shares.

But concerns over Eurozone sovereign funding ahead of Spanish and Italian debt auctions later this week countered earlier optimism and limited gains in Asia overnight.

Meanwhile UK economic data showed that Britian's goods trade deficit widened more than expected in November.

The Office for National Statistics said that it widened to £8.644bn in November from £7.868bn in October.

London copper fell 0.5 per cent this morning setting the scene for jittery trading in London.

Scottish and Southern Energy was the steepest faller, down 2.8 per cent while consumer giant Unilever was off by two per cent, triggered by its rating being lowered by Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch.

Other significant stocks to nudge down were British Land which was down 1.9 per cent. Temporary power provider Aggreko was off by 1.8 per cent after its stock was downgraded by analysts at Credit Suisse.

Credit research giant Experian was down by 1.6 per cent after earlier in the week announcing the shock death of its chief financial officer Paul Brooks.

Drinks company SABMiller edged down by 0.8 per cent after announcing a £4bn bond issue to help finance its purchase of Foster's.

On the positive side banks were among the main gainers with RBS - which is set to announce thousands of job losses as part of a cost cutting programme - up more than three per cent. Lloyds saw a lift of 1.5 per cent.

Other main risers were outsourcer Capita, up 2.2 per cent, and Primark owner AB Food, up 1.6 per cent. Meanwhile Essar Energy was up 1.5 per cent.

Grocer Sainsbury's saw its shares edge up after reporting a forecast beating sales rise while mid-cap SuperGroup was up three per cent after also reporting a jump in sales.

In Asia the Nikkei closed up 0.3 per cent and the Hang Seng 0.7 per cent.

Across the Atlantic later the weekly mortgage and refinancing indexes are due for release.