The FTSE 100 edged down this morning amid continuing fears of a Greek economic meltdown and a lowering of world growth forecasts by the World Bank.
Resource stocks were the worst hit overall as the bank predicted world economic growth of 2.5 per cent in 2012 and 3.1 per cent in 2013, well below the 3.6 per cent growth for each year projected in June.
At the heart of the more negative view is the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, it said.
Adding to the gloomy picture UK official figures showed that the jobless total had hit a 17-year high. In the three months to November the total rose by 118,000 to 2.685m.
Tullow oil was the steepest faller on London's blue chip index, down seven per cent after issuing a poorly received trading update. The rising cost of exploration has been one of the main issues casting a shadow over the sector.
In banking RBS was down 2.3 per cent and Lloyds more than one per cent as the uncertainty over whether Greece could be dug out of its debt crisis without a default took its toll. Miner Rio Tinto was also down more than one per cent as concerns over global growth hit resources stocks. Cairn Energy was another casualty, down more than one per cent.
On the up side hedge fund giant Man Group climbed more than five per cent after announcing a cost cutting package to address a drop in assets under management, triggered by volatility in markets.
Cruise ship company Carnival was up more than one per cent, clawing back at least some of the ground lost after its ship the Concordia sank in Italy.
Essar Energy was up six per cent today recovering some of the losses it suffered yesterday which were triggered by the overturning of a tax ruling in its favour.
FTSE-250 listed pub chain Wetherspoon was down more than two per cent after it said its profit margin was slimming.
Meanwhile in Asia the Nikkei closed up 0.9 per cent and the Hang Seng 0.3 per cent.