FTSE 100 edged down yesterday, with investors booking profits from hefty gains in miners and banks last week, while the market searched for direction as the earnings season tailed off.<br /><br />The index ended down 0.2 per cent, or 9.36 points at 4,722.20, not far from a 10-month closing high of 4,731.56 on Friday.<br /><br />A recovery in corporate earnings and improving macroeconomic data has fuelled a market rally over the past few weeks, with the index rebounding 36 per cent since the all-time low in March, and has gained 2.5 per cent so far this month.<br /><br />Miners were the biggest drag on the index, with <strong>Anglo American, Fresnillo, BHP Billiton, Kazakhmys</strong> and <strong>Eurasian Natural Resources</strong> off between two and four per cent.<br /><br /><strong>Rio Tinto</strong> shed 3.2 per cent after China stepped up espionage allegations against the world’s second-largest iron ore miner.<br /><br /><strong>Xstrata</strong> lost 3.1 per cent after the company said on Sunday that it could sell a major stake in a South African mining project.<br /><br />Banks were also under pressure after investor confidence was dented by a talk about a possible share issue by <strong>Lloyds Banking Group</strong>. The lender was the biggest large-cap faller, losing 4 per cent.<br /><br /><strong>Royal Bank of Scotland</strong> was off 3.6 per cent after its glum results on Friday and <strong>Barclays</strong> lost 1.8 per cent. <strong>Standard Chartered</strong> and <strong>HSBC</strong> rose 0.6 and 0.3 per cent respectively.<br /><br />Oil majors were higher as crude prices climbed above $71 a barrel. <strong>BP</strong> and <strong>Tullow Oil</strong> climbed 1 and 1.5 per cent, but <strong>Royal Dutch Shell</strong> fell 0.4 per cent.<br /><br /><strong>Friends Provident</strong> rose 7 per cent to top the gainers list, after the firm said it had agreed to fresh talks with Resolution.<br /><br />Peer <strong>Prudential</strong> climbed 3 per cent, helped by speculation that the company is set to raise its dividend with its results on Thursday. Old <strong>Mutual, Standard Life</strong> and <strong>Legal & General</strong> were between 0.6 and 1.6 per cent higher.<br /><br />Pharmaceuticals were in favour, reflecting a retreat in risk appetite, as investors opted for assets perceived as safe bets. <strong>GlaxoSmithKline</strong> added 1.2 per cent, while <strong>Shire</strong> was up 1 per cent. <strong>AstraZeneca</strong> was 0.2 per cent lower.<br /><br /><strong>Rexam</strong> rose 2.8 per cent as Credit Suisse raised its recommendation to “outperform” from “neutral”.<br /><br /><strong>BT Group</strong> was up 2 per cent after JPMorgan raised its rating for the fixed line telecoms group to “overweight” from “neutral”.<br /><br />In economic news, a survey showed British firms had an easier time getting credit in the last three months – the first improvement this year – and access to credit is seen getting even better in the next three months.<br /><br />Investors will be focused on the Federal Reserve’s statement tomorrow at the end of its two-day interest rate setting meeting.<br /><br />The central bank is expected to hold rates near zero and investors will be looking for signals of an exit strategy from its efforts to prop up the financial system.