The FTSE 100 is down 18 points, or 0.29%, to 6,269 in early trading, as energy stocks lead the decline following a 5% drop in crude oil prices.
International Power is currently the biggest drag on the index with a fall of 3.54% to 361.5p, closely followed by Scottish & Southern Energy which is down 3.24% to £14.95, while Cairn Energy has slipped 2.68% to £16.69.
BG Group is down 2.15% to 659.5p, closely followed by Tate & Lyle which has fallen 1.56% to 759.5p, although losses are being limited by Reckitt Benckiser which has climbed 0.99% to £24.38.
However ICI is posting the biggest gains so far with a rise of 2.39% to 472p, closely followed by BT Group which is up 1.57% to 324.25p, while Vodafone has added 1.18% to 150p, and Next has climbed 1.13% to £18.77.
In Japan the Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 262.08, or 1.5%, to 17,091.59, as it declined for the first time in six days on concerns export earnings will be curbed after the yen rose against the dollar and euro.
Toyota, the world's second-largest carmaker, dropped 190 yen, or 2.4%, to 7,900, while Canon, the world's largest digital camera maker, slid 140 yen, or 2.1%, to 6,530, as the yen rose to 118.39 against the dollar, and rose to 154.81, up from 155.76, against the Euro.
Elsewhere Inpex Holdings, Japan's largest oil explorer, dropped 24,000 yen, or 2.6%, to 919,000, while Japan Petroleum Exploration slid 340 yen, or 4.9%, to 6,610, and Mitsubishi, Japan's No. 1 trading company by market value, declined 60 yen, or 2.7%, to 2,170.
And Nippon Steel, the world's second-largest maker, dropped 36 yen, or 5.4%, to 628, while JFE, Japan's second largest such producer, slid 400 yen, or 6.6%, to 5,700, and Elpida Memory, Japan's biggest memory-chip maker, plunged 490 yen, or 7.7%, to 5,840.
In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 6.17 points, or 0.05%, to 12,480.69, as a late charge on falling oil prices clawed back earlier losses.
Intel posted the biggest gains with a rise of 4.03% to $21.17, closely followed by Merck which climbed 2.48% to $45.11, while Altria Group added 1.32% to $87.65, and Johnson & Johnson gained 1.25% to $67.23.
IBM also performed well with a rise of 1.07% to $98.31, although gains were limited by Procter & Gamble which fell 0.76% to $64.05, while American International Group also slipped 0.89% to $71.51.
Exxon Mobil was the biggest drag on the index with a fall of 1.88% to $72.72, as crude oil prices for February delivery dropped $2.73 to $55.59 a barrel, while AT&T slipped 1.29% to $34.50 and Home Depot fell 1.22% to $40.57.IFAonline
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