Takeover speculation surrounding a raft of blue chip stocks was not enough to weaken the impact of a stronger dollar on commodity shares as the London market edged lower.
The FTSE 100 Index dropped 14 points to 5794.5, as the strong greenback saw energy and metal prices slide, sending heavily-weighted miners lower.
Kazakhmys was down 31p at 1523p, Rio Tinto was off 135p at 4370p and Eurasian Natural Resources fell 13.5p to 931p.
Strong manufacturing data from the CBI lifted the pound which was up against the dollar at 1.57 and up against the euro at 1.19.
Traders piled into fashion house Burberry as bid rumours resurfaced following Tuesday’s British Fashion Awards, with US designer Coach mooted as a potential interested party. Shares were up nearly 2% at 1156p.
There was similar interest in medical devices firm Smith & Nephew, which sat more than 9% higher at the top of the risers board, after reports cited an 800p per share cash offer from a US consortium of private equity players.
But investors were not impressed by ongoing in-fighting between shareholders at Lakeside owner Capital Shopping Centres.
The group shot to the top of the fallers’ board after takeover suitor and major investor Simon Property said it will vote against Capital’s planned acquisition of Manchester’s Trafford shopping mall.
It added it was still interested in buying Capital, but threatened to drop any potential offer unless it was allowed to carry out due diligence. Shares in Capital fell 5%, or 21.8p to 386.2p.
Corporate earnings provided the focus in the FTSE 250, with Comet parent Kesa Electricals dropping 2.3p to 169.6p after it reported a three-fold increase in UK half-year losses as second quarter sales slumped 10%. Comet saw losses widen to 6.4 million euro (£5.4 million) in the six months to October 31, up from 1.8 million euro (£1.5 million) a year ago.