The FTSE 100 was swinging between gains and losses for most of Monday's session with markets across Europe lacking direction on a quiet day.
"Global markets are trading lower today which may be related to the significant strength within the markets within 2013," said market analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
"An overall lack of noteworthy market worthy news and data has allowed traders the freedom to base their trading decisions more upon previous sentimental convictions, along with more technical trading. The Chinese absence from the market also removes many of the more optimistic minded traders."
Meanwhile, senior market analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets said that markets are "sitting tight" ahead of the conclusion of today's meeting of European finance ministers, "where the topic of conversation is likely to be the recent rise in the value of the euro."
It is also predicted that the Eurogroup will discuss the contentious bailout of Cyprus and its banks, estimated to be around €17.5bn, though no final decision is expected to be made.
In other news, Goldman Sachs cut global equities from 'overweight' to 'neutral' on a three-month view (though it remains 'overweight on a 12-month view). The bank said on Friday: "some US fiscal uncertainty remains and the European sovereign situation could deteriorate again, but we see risks as smaller than last year."
FTSE 100: Miners mixed as Randgold and Rio fall
The mining sector was putting in mixed performance this afternoon, with ENRC, EVRAZ and Polymetal among the highest risers.
However, gold miner Randgold Resources was trading firmly lower as the price of the precious metal took a hit. Rio Tinto was also in the red despite the Australian Competition Tribunal ruling that its Hamersley and Robe rail network should not be opened up to other users.
Supermarket stocks were on shopping lists today, with retail giant Tesco making gains after an upgrade by Exane BNP Paribas from 'underperform' to 'neutral'. The broker said that company is "beginning to move in the right direction" despite concerns about its overseas activities. Rival retailers Morrison and Sainsbury were also performing well this afternoon.
Banking group Barclays was on the up ahead of its full-year results and conclusion of its strategic review out tomorrow. Media reports suggest that the lender plans to reduce costs by at least £2.0bn and cut 2,000 jobs in investment banking.
Industrial project management and construction group Wood Group fell despite announcing that it has won a contract for an offshore oil & gas production facility in the Norwegian part of the North Sea.
FTSE 250: Ocado extends gains on M&A speculation
Online grocer Ocado surged today following its well-received final results on Thursday. Reuters cited a London trader today as saying that there have been rumours that a retailer without an online presence (like Morrisons) could launch a big for the firm.
Trading systems developer Fidessa gained experiencing a 'marked and positive change of sentiment in the market' in recent months.
Third-quarter power generation at Essar Energy almost doubled, causing shares
to rise today. Power generation rose 93% to 2,862m units compared to 1,481m units in the same quarter a year earlier.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 395.80p +4.79%
Evraz (EVR) 296.00p +2.60%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 256.10p +2.40%
Aviva (AV.) 362.20p +1.48%
Tesco (TSCO) 367.90p +1.46%
Sage Group (SGE) 334.40p +1.15%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,153.00p +1.05%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 753.00p +1.01%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,148.00p +0.99%
Barclays (BARC) 301.50p +0.97%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,845.00p -2.58%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,645.00p -1.75%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 903.50p -1.69%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,345.00p -1.47%
Experian (EXPN) 1,080.00p -1.46%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,093.00p -1.41%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 808.00p -1.22%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,896.00p -1.15%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 216.10p -1.10%
ITV (ITV) 115.60p -1.03%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 127.30p +7.52%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 119.80p +6.30%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 1,577.00p +3.27%
Man Group (EMG) 100.80p +2.96%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 139.60p +2.80%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 282.00p +2.47%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 144.30p +2.34%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 487.80p +2.26%
Rank Group (RNK) 152.20p +2.01%
Bumi (BUMI) 385.10p +1.88%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Telecity Group (TCY) 827.50p -4.22%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 727.00p -3.71%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 95.00p -3.06%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 791.50p -2.64%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 204.30p -2.44%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 249.00p -2.12%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 648.00p -2.11%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 73.60p -2.06%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 222.00p -1.81%
Debenhams (DEB) 97.60p -1.81%