The FTSE 100 index fell 0.83% to 6,016.5 points today as mining and oil stocks saw early gains trimmed and Scottish & Newcastle dominated the fallers.
Scottish & Newcastle was worst performer, falling 4.7% to 506.5p, after it splashed out £309m to acquire the Fosters lager brand from parent company Foster's Group.
Prudential dropped 2.02% to 654p after Axa denied it is takeover talks and HBOS fell 1.69% to 933.50p, failing to benefit from a Credit Suisse upgrade to "overweight" from "neutral".
Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer rose 3.90% to 586p after it unveiled better than expected fourth quarter figures. UK like-for-like sales rose at more than double expectations at 6.8% with general merchandise up 8.2% and food 5.6% better.
Miners also ended up as metal prices gathered pace again, with gold futures advancing to a 25-year best above $600 an ounce and copper and zinc at record highs.
Xstrata rose 1.57% to £20.05, BHP Billiton gained 1.18% to £11.55 and Rio Tinto advanced 0.45% to £31.29.
Oil giants also did well as crude for May delivery soared through $69 a barrel before profit takers had it lower by the London close.
BP gained 0.22% to 695p and Royal Dutch Shell rose 0.76% to £19.85.
Debt Free Direct rose 0.78% to 389p after it announced it is planning to double its capacity in order to cope with the current boom in the IVA market.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index has slumped 48.66 points, or 0.4%, to 11,092.67 points Bausch & Lomb shares plunged and reports of a resumption of nuclear activity in Iran caused the market to give up earlier gains.
Bausch & Lomb has slumped $10.07, or 18%, to $47.37 after it said it is temporarily halting shipments of its ReNu solution with MoistureLoc after reports of fungal infections in the US.
The news has caused Humana, a US health insurance provider, to fall $1.91 to $47.50.
Meanwhile, Alcoa has surged $2.03, or 6.2%, to $34.68 for the top gain in the Dow average. The world's biggest aluminum maker says first-quarter profit more than doubled to $608m as metal prices soared.
Rival Alcan, the world's second-largest aluminum producer, has added $1.20 to $51.69.
Southern Copper has added 36 cents to $91.78 after it was raised to "buy" from "hold" by Deutsche Bank.
Piper Jaffray has also jumped $5.68, or 10%, to $60.88. UBS AG has agreed to buy Piper Jaffray's brokerage unit for wealthy investors for as much as $575m in cash to gain ground on US competitors. UBS will also buy client loans valued at about $300m.IFAonline
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