The London market followed global peers into the red amid concerns that US military exercises with South Korea could ramp up tensions with Pyongyang.
The FTSE 100 ended relatively flat, down by 5.1 points at 7,318.88, after dipping below the 7,300 mark in afternoon trading. But the index fared better that market in France and Germany which suffered steeper falls.
David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Traders remain nervous due to the continued stand-off between the US and North Korea.
“Tensions surrounding North Korea are still running high, and this week we could see them ratchet up as the US and South Korea will commence their annual 10-day military exercise.”
Miners gained ground on the back of rising base metal prices which were propelled by news of a multi-billion yuan injection into China’s financial system by the country’s central bank. Antofagasta rose 11p to 954.5p, while Anglo American climbed 15p to 1,295p, and BHP Billiton climbed 15p to 1,366p.
Shire shares fell 151.5p to 3,613p and were one of the FTSE 100’s worst performers after the pharma giant announced that it was searching for a new chief financial officer to replace Jeff Poulton, who will step down by year-end to work at a Boston start-up.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Micro Focus International up 69p to 2,243p, Pearson up 14p to 619p, Persimmon up 35p at 2,556p, and Admiral up 27p to 1,992p. The biggest fallers included Provident Financial which fell 107p to 1,745p and St. James’s Place down 16p to 1,173p.