In the UK today the FTSE 100 index of leading share was down 7.10 points, or 0.13% to 5494.40 at its close a short time ago, Legal and General (L&G) pacing the decline.
L&G fell 2.84% to 111.00p after it warned it could face a £500m tax bill if new legislation proposed by the government to tax reserves in life funds comes into force.
On the upside, Telecoms stocks dialled in gains after mobile group O2 continued higher on persistent bid hopes and upbeat broker comment increasing 1.4% to 163.50p.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 23.62 points, or 0.2%, to 10,559.10 as oil prices dropped in morning trading by almost $2 a barrel and a government report suggested the economy is expanding faster than expected.
Gains have been limited as some investors dismissed the immediate relief in oil prices in the face of evidence that energy costs at companies such as Procter & Gamble and Clorox may be hurting profits. A decline in energy shares also weighed on benchmarks.
Crude oil for November delivery has fallen as much as 3.8% to $63 a barrel in New York amid signs that higher energy prices are curtailing fuel use. Oil was recently at $63.25.
A private report yesterday showed manufacturing unexpectedly accelerated in September, suggesting the recovery from two US Gulf Coast hurricanes will be rapid. The Institute for Supply Management said its factory index rose to 59.4 from 53.6 in August. Readings greater than 50 indicate growth.
P&G, the largest US household goods maker, has fallen $0.80 to $58.51 and is the second-biggest drag on the Dow average.IFAonline
Two global vehicles
'Further plug advice gap'
Must appoint separate CEOs and boards
Advisers do come out well
Will report to Mark Till