THE FTSE 100 closed marginally lower yesterday as buoyant financials struggled against disappointing US data, falls from miners and Vodafone.<br /><br />The index closed 5.98 points, or 0.1 per cent, lower at 5,159.72, after a choppy day of trading, having ended Monday&rsquo;s session 1.6 per cent firmer.<br /><br />Miners were among the biggest laggards, with investors plagued by lingering concerns over the strength of demand from China after <strong>Anglo American</strong> said on Monday the country&rsquo;s commodities growth may ease over the short-term.<strong> Lonmin, Randgold Resources, Anglo American, Xstrata</strong> and <strong>Rio Tinto</strong> all shed between 0.6 to 3.2 per cent.<br /><br />It was a mixed picture among oil stocks, as crude prices rose. <strong>BG Group</strong> put on 0.5 per cent, <strong>BP</strong> was flat, while <strong>Royal Dutch Shell</strong> shed 1.2 per cent.<br /><br />Real estate stocks were out of favour after Credit Suisse downgraded its view of the sector to &ldquo;benchmark&rdquo; from &ldquo;overweight&rdquo;, with <strong>British Land, Hammerson</strong> and <strong>Land Securities</strong> off 1 to 2.8 per cent.<br /><br /><strong>Vodafone</strong> fell 2 per cent after it won the rights to sell Apple&rsquo;s iPhone in Britain, but not until early 2010.<br /><br />Financials were the strongest performers with banks mostly higher after French bank BNP Paribas joined a recent European rush to repay government aid from the credit crisis by launching a capital increase.<br /><br /><strong>Barclays, Standard Chartered, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group</strong> and <strong>HSBC</strong> rose between 0.4 and 1.2 per cent.<br /><br />Life insurers were in demand, with investors buoyed by takeover talk.<br /><br /><strong>Legal &amp; General</strong> was the top FTSE 100 riser, up 4.8 per cent on more bid talk following a weekend report it has prepared a defence document against a potential bid from takeover vehicle <strong>Resolution.</strong><br /><br />The speculation saw <strong>Aviva, Standard Life, Prudential</strong> and Old <strong>Mutual</strong> adding 0.3 to 3 per cent. <strong>Friends Provident,</strong> also a target for Resolution, dropped 0.2 per cent.<br /><br /><strong>Compass</strong> was another big gainer, up 3.6 per cent after the world&rsquo;s biggest caterer said it expected to increase full-year earnings per share by 14 per cent as new business wins, cost cuts and a weak pound helped maintain growth.<br />