The FTSE100 has given up most of its strong start in mid-morning trading, with more fears for financials cancelling out the large oil price falls. London's blue-chip index is currently 7.5 points (0.15%) higher to 5,179.40.
US crude futures fell by more than $10 to just below $136 a barrel yesterday, before recovering above $137. London Brent dipped $6.60 to $137.31 a barrel.
Strong losses to US peers have not helped the banks, with Royal Bank of Scotland down 5.56% to 158. HBOS is 5% lower to 247, while Barclays is 2.21% behind to 254.75.
The London Stock Exchange Group is struggling after a strong Tuesday session, down 3.25% to 685.50.
Insurer Admiral is going against the grain however, soaring 6.37% to 751.50. Broker ICAP is 2.75% ahead to 429.25.
In New York, Wall Street endured a rollercoaster ride on Tuesday, with investors monitoring the plummeting oil price and financial fears. A cautious speech by Fed chairman Ben Bernanke to the US Senate yesterday also knocked confidence.
The Dow Jones IA closed 92.65 points (0.84%) lower to 10962.54.
Mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were again among the heavy fallers. Insurer AIG led the Dow’s losses, 8.47% behind to 20.64.
Bank of America and Citigroup also struggled, down 8.09% to 18.52 and 4.34% to 14.56 respectively. The lower crude price hit Exxon Mobil, dipping 3.78% to 82.19.
News it will cut staff costs by 20% and suspend dividends boosted General Motors, closing 4.9% higher to 9.84. Microsoft led a strong tech sector, up 3.98% to 26.15.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 climbed slightly on Wednesday despite fears surrounding commodity producers. The index finished 6.24 yen (0.05%) ahead to 12,760.80.IFAonline
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Tough year for the sector