The FTSE opened at 5,727 this morning, sliding 0.08% in early trading, although there was a raft of M&A activity among the UK's largest companies.
Resolution, the insurance sector consolidator run by entrepreneur Clive Cowdery, is buying Bupa Health Assurance for £102m.
HSBC is close to walking away from a £5bn ($8bn) plan to buy Nedbank in South Africa, after a two-month period of exclusive talks with majority owner Old Mutual expires this weekend.
The bank is not in a position to make an offer for Nedbank before the period of exclusivity finishes, the Financial Times reports.
That could leave the way clear for UK rival Standard Chartered to gain the upper hand in the bidding to buy Nedbank, HSBC executives concede. StanChart had previously been interested in buying Nedbank.
BHP Billiton's hopes of launching a joint iron ore venture with rival Rio Tinto look set to be dashed by European regulators after Germany said it would ban the $116bn (£72.4bn) deal.
The German Federal Cartel Office said it would prohibit the planned merger of the western Australian operations of the world's second and third biggest miners of the raw material for steel.
British banks and financiers helped Iran to evade sanctions set up to prevent terror, promote Middle East peace and stop the ayatollahs gaining nuclear weapons.
Investigations by American prosecutors found that Lloyds TSB and Barclays helped the Iranians to access up to $600m in the US financial system by hiding customers' identities, the Times reports.
The global flight from the US dollar accelerated yesterday, with the greenback tumbling to near-parity with the Australian dollar and suffering sharp declines against a broad range of other currencies.
The Australian dollar came within a whisker of $1, trading at $0.9993, the highest level since the currency began freely floating in 1983. The US dollar hit a 15-year low against the yen and slid to $1.40 against the euro and $1.60 versus the pound.
The Government has been urged to rethink its proposed Equitable Life compensation scheme as it was accused of falsely raising policyholder hopes about potential payouts.
In a critical report published just days before the Treasury is expected to put a final figure on payments for up to 1.5m Equitable customers, the Public Administration Committee warned that its calculations were "unsafe and unsound".
UBS sought to brush its disastrous performance during the financial crisis under the carpet yesterday by admitting mistakes but ruling out any legal action against its former bosses, the Independent reports.
The bank said while there were grounds for it to pursue them through the civil courts, it had decided to take no action, in part because court cases would generate negative public relations and prevent the restoration of its "good name."
Kate Swann, the chief executive of WH Smith, who is credited with turning around the once struggling retailer, is set to take home a £4m bonus this year after hitting a number of performance targets.
The award comes as the 218-year old group said it would beat analysts' full-year expectations with pre-tax profits of £89m. Smith's also announced that it would lift its full-year dividend by 18%.
Internet search company Google reported a 25% jump in net revenues to $5.48bn as advertising continued to bounce back strongly from the downturn.
Wall Street had been expecting a rise of only 20% in net revenues, which are calculated after deducting the $1.81bn in traffic acquisition costs Google paid to other internet companies that generated some of its search traffic, the FT reports.
Information technology services firm Computacenter saw growth rates quicken in the third quarter.
Like for like (LFL) growth, which excludes acquisitions and disposals, was 14%, or 17% on a constant currency basis, dragging year to date growth rates up to 8% and 11% respectively.
Reckitt Benckiser has been fined £10.2m for abuse of the dominant market position of its heartburn treatment Gaviscon in 2005.
Booker, which runs more than 170 branches supplying convenience stores, restaurants, pubs, schools and prisons, made a pre-tax profit of £36.9m in the 24 weeks to 10 September.
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