US blue chips barely moved off the starting blocks in opening exchanges despite Government data showing US unemployment in August reached its highest level since 1983.
In what many analysts expect to be a quiet session ahead of the Labor Day weekend, the benchmark Dow Jones dipped 1.21 points to trade at 9,343.40 at about 15:30 BST.
Figures from the Labor Department showed the US unemployment rate reached 9.7% last month, up from to 9.4% in July. But the number of jobs cut was smaller than expected.
Chemical giant Du Pont was the biggest loser, down 1.6% to $31.12, while insurance firm Travelers Company and semiconductor firm Intel also dropped.
In the opposite direction, Bank of America topped the gainers, adding 2% to $17.18.
Meanwhile, in the UK, mining firms and financials continued to dominate, with platinum specialist Lonmin enjoying the biggest share boost after a broker upgraded the stock's profit forecast.
Lonmin shares jumped almost 9% to £15.66, while copper miner Kazakhmys also remained in favour, up 4.11% to 987p.
In the financial sector, fund manager Schroders' enjoyed a boost, with its non-voting shares up 5% and regular share class up 4%.
This helped the FTSE add more than 1% to 4851.65.
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