Energy companies have been under pressure on the London market after industry watchdog Ofgem announced an investigation following recent bill hikes.
British Gas parent Centrica was one of the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 Index as Ofgem said it would probe supplier accounts after discovering their profit margins has soared 38% since September.
The wider Footsie was also in the red, down 23.5 points at 5675.4, mirroring falls across Europe on mounting fears of a eurozone debt crisis.
The Cac 40 in France dropped 0.6% and Germany’s Dax was also lower as reports suggested Portugal was now under pressure to accept a bailout.
Energy firms were in the spotlight in London after Ofgem’s announcement, with Centrica down 6.7p to 317.6p – a fall of 2%. Scottish & Southern Energy also fell, down 5p to 1151p.
Both firms have revealed price rises in recent weeks and Ofgem said it wanted to check the “facts behind the figures” after the latest round of bill increases.
Miners joined them on the fallers board on persistent Chinese inflation worries.
But telecoms firm BT was on the rise after the group said Mumbai-based manufacturing conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra had agreed to buy a further 5.5% stake in their outsourcing joint venture Tech Mahindra from BT.
BT’s shares rose 6.5p to 173.4p.