The FTSE 100 opened slightly lower this morning after falls on Wall Street and in Asia, dipping 4.76 points (0.09%) to 5,493 in early trading.
Fund managers and life insurers lead this morning's early gains. Shares in Man Group rose 1.67% to 317p, while Schroders (non-voting) increased 1.34% to £10.58. Prudential was 1.19% higher to 637p.
However, banks featured among the top ten fallers. Lloyds was down 1.18% to 55.31p, Barclays fell 1.14% to 313p, RBS dipped 1.12% to 34.39p and HSBC declined 0.78% to 722.70p.
Royal Dutch Shell (B) is also weighing on the index, down 1.57% to £17.44.
Meanwhile, Cadbury shares are flat in early trading as nemesis Kraft Foods increased its per share earnings expectations for 2009.
In the US, the Dow Jones fell 36 points (0.34%) to close at 10,637 on Tuesday.
Miner Alcoa, the first company to report fourth quarter earnings, revealed weaker than expected results - with the news sending its share price plummeting 11.06% to $15.52.
In Japan, the Nikkei fell 144.11 yen, or 1.32%, to 10,735.03 on Wednesday - after closing at a fresh 15-month high on Tuesday.
Japan Airlines, Asia's largest carrier, fell by the ¥30 daily limit for a second day running as bankruptcy fears increased. It shares plunged 81% to ¥7.
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