Bullish traders saw their attempts to push the Footsie towards all-time highs defeated as the index fell back despite positive news on the world economy.
A liquidity boost from the Chinese central bank and confirmation of an upgrade to global and UK growth forecasts by the IMF were not enough to keep the FTSE 100 Index in the black, and it closed 2.47 points lower at 6,834.26.
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC, said: “After three days of fairly lacklustre sideways trading Europe’s markets made a renewed attempt to push higher, making new six-and-a-half-year highs in the process, before sliding back again.”
London’s big miners acted as a drag on the index. A sharp slide in platinum prices, despite strike action in South Africa, saw commodity stocks fall as Goldman Sachs revised its outlook for platinum prices lower. Anglo American was 37p lighter at 1,356p, and Rio Tinto led the fallers with a drop of more than 3 per cent, down 104.5p at 3,231.5p.
Shares in safety and testing firm Intertek were given a boost after a better-than-expected results from Swiss peer SGS. It added 92p or 3.2 per cent to close at 3,000p.
And signs of growth in emerging markets helped deliver a shares boost for consumer goods giant Unilever, which climbed 43p to 2,480p after it announced a 9 per cent rise in net profit. The company had issued a profits warning in September due to currency weakness in countries such as Brazil and India.
Rival Reckitt Benckiser was 71p higher at 4,754p, while drinks company Diageo, Scotland’s biggest whisky distiller and another big seller into emerging markets, rose 38p to 1,985p.