END-OF-DAY REPORT: Headline shares ended the day little changed, with Xstrata and Glencore heading down after a further delay to their merger decision, offset in part by a jump in steelmaker Evraz after announcing a dividend.
US stocks were modestly higher in late morning trade, with investors buoyed by the success of the retail launch of the Apple iPhone 5.
Approaching the close in London, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 21 points at 13,619, the S&P500 rose 4 points at 1,464 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 13 points at 3,189.
A rally in commodity prices on hopes of further stimulus moves from China drove markets higher early this morning, but downbeat UK budget deficit numbers and the impact of quadruple witching took their toll, pushing the main index into the red.
Vedanta Resources gained 32p at 1,086p, but elsewhere the mining sector was generally lower on concerns over the spread of strikes in South Africa. Rio Tinto dipped 36p at 3,041p and Anglo American lost 6p at 1,938p.
Commodity broker Glencore and bid target Xstrata tumbled 6.15p at 362p and 44p at 1,005p on news the Takeover Panel has agreed an extension to the deadline for their merger decision to 1st October.
Oil majors were mostly lower, although crude prices ticked up, with Tullow Oil off 7p at 1,380p, BG Group 14p lower at 1,246p and BP down 3.3p at 441p, while Shell eked out a gain of 0.5p at 2,260.5p.
Profit-taking took its toll on Imperial Tobacco, send shares in the cigarette maker 34p lower at 2,365p, while rival BAT lost 15p at 3,224p.
National Grid dropped 7.5p at 686.5p, after JP Morgan Cazenove downgraded the power provider from neutral to underweight.
Household goods maker Reckitt Benckiser closed down 70p at 3,599p, while rival Unilever fell 4p at 2,292p.
Banking shares ended modestly higher, with Lloyds gaining 0.85p at 40.17p, Royal Bank of Scotland adding 7.3p at 275.8p and Barclays 1.7p better at 223.75p.
Security group G4S edged up 1.4p at 268.6p as it seeks to play down criticism from the UK Government amid calls for it to forego its £57m management fee for the troublesome Olympic contract.
Publisher Pearson jumped 35p at 1,217p when Exane BNP Paribas upgraded the stock from neutral to outperform and hiked its target price from 1,200p to 1,450p.
Russian steelmaker Evraz topped the leaderboard, climbing 11.1p at 271.9p after confirming it will pay an interim dividend of $0.11 per share.
Supermarket operator Sainsbury moved ahead 2.9p at 344.9p on news it is to hire an additional 15,000 temporary staff over the Christmas period.
Commercial software provider Sage Group advanced 5.4p at 324.8p after announcing it has acquired Brazil's EBS Empresa Brasileira de Sistemas for a cash consideration of up to £10.6m.
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