The FTSE 100 index of leading UK shares was down 31 points to 4,099 in its first hour of trading aft...
The FTSE 100 index of leading UK shares was down 31 points to 4,099 in its first hour of trading after a new report showing the country's services industries are slowing down as the manufacturing sector continues to struggle.
Financial services firms were the hardest hit by news of the British Chamber of Commerce report, with Schroders losing 20p to 528.5p and Amvescap shedding 10.75p to 346.25p.
Media stocks were also hit after JPMorgan cut its forward earnings per share estimates for Reuters by more than 20%, cutting 5p off the share price, taking it to 172p.
A cut to earnings estimates also hit specialist chemicals company Johnson Matthey, which dropped 22.5p to 873p.
Software company Sage countered the analysts with its own statement, saying earnings for the current year are likely to come in as expected, sending its shares up 2.5p to 139.75p.
Miner Xstrata jumped 6.5p to 675p after overnight reports that the firm may put in a joint bid for a smaller rival in Australia in order to boost its Zinc reserves.
FTSE mid-cap stocks are moving about less than their bigger peers, as the FTSE 250 index is relatively unchanged at 4,371 points.
Colt Telecom is the biggest loser of the day so far after its shares slumped nearly 5%, or 1.5p to 29.5p as the struggle goes on between itself and one particular shareholder that wants the company put into administration.
Better news for vaccines maker Powderject, however, after news of a bid for the company pushed its shares up 165p to 420p.
London indices could swing later today when US markets open.
Earlier today Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index shed 107.72 points to close at 8,978.41 after Hitachi warned that earnings from its chip making business could fall significantly.
That dragged down other tech stocks, while shares in banks fell over concern the Japanese government's plan to buy bank stocks will take too long to implement.
Hong Kong has followed Tokyo's lead, dropping nearly 50 points to 9,566 today.
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