Just 10 stocks made gains by the close as the FTSE 100 shed 39.30 points to 4,287 as many of the biggest stocks dragged the index lower.
Although not the biggest losers in terms of percentage share price lost, Vodafone, GlaxoSmithKline, HSBC, and AstraZenica hurt the index the most in terms of points shaved from the collective value of the 100 biggest UK-listed firms.
Abbey led the losers in share price terms, dropping 23p to 557p on details of the bid its board accepted from Spainish suitor Banco Santander Central Hispano.
British Airways fell 5.75p to 229p as oil prices wobbled over new assassinations of political leaders in Iraq and the company continued to face a potential ballot over industrial action by staff in the lead-up to its traditional summer peak operating period.
Vodafone shed 2.25p to 114p as European regulators said it and fellow UK network operator MmO2 were overcharging customers.
MmO2 dropped 1.25p to 84.25p.
Bradford & Bingley gained 2.75p to 269.75p on a mixture of hope over profits on mortgage loans and some speculation it could become the target of a takeover similar to Abbey’s.
British Land added 7p to 700p after naming Abbey chief operating officer Stephen Hester its new chief executive.
Shares in US markets have opened down for the second trading day in a row. The Dow Jones Industrial Average index is off by about 14 points to 9,948, while the broader S&P 500 index is down by about 3 points to 1,083.IFAonline
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