London equities were 'treading water' at midday after being left without the benefit of Wall Street to provide some offset to weak retail sales data out of China.
Chinese consumers reigned in their spending over the Lunar New Year festivities by the most in four years, as authorities cracked down on extravagant spending by the public sector. That in turn seems to be the culprit behind the falls to be seen in the prices of most industrial metals.
US capital markets will remain closed today, in observance of Presidents' Day, hence the fact that trading volumes on the top share index are now running at half their usual levels.
Nevertheless, in the background investors are busy analysing the possible outcome - and implications - of the upcoming elections in Italy, this coming weekend.
No less important will be the fresh indications regarding US monetary policy - from Wednesday onwards - and the latest readings on the Eurozone's manufacturing and service sectors, on Thursday.
Also acting as a backdrop was the latest data from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which showed short speculative positions in Sterling outnumbering bullish ones for the first time in five months.
No 'first tier' economic indicators were due for release in the UK, but the tone of a motley assortment of surveys out on Monday was at best 'mixed'.
A survey from Markit showed that people on lower incomes saw the largest squeeze on their finances in at least four years in 2012.
Footfall at high-street shops fell by 3.3% year-on-year in January - the biggest fall since 2010, according to a study by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
New home-seller average asking prices rose to a five year high, at £235,741, in February, the highest for that month since 2008, according to the latest data available from property website Rightmove. Asking prices increased by 2.8% month-on-month.
However, Rightmove warned that it is "far too early to pop the champagne corks as certain sectors will remain on ice until the return of wider-spread mortgage availability".
Chinese data weighs on miners
Miners were still the worst performers on the Footsie after news that Chinese retail sales at shops and restaurants increased by 14.7% in the February 9th to February 15th period versus a year ago. That was less than the 16.2% pace seen in 2012 and the slowest pace in four years.
Iberia, the Spanish subsidiary of London-listed IAG, announced 15 days of strike action.
The New York Times reported that Carnival will begin a detailed inspection of its Triumph ship, which was towed to shore last week following a small on-board fire.
Vodafone may approach Germany's largest cable provider Kabel Deutschland about a takeover bid as early as this week, according to reports.
According to the Financial Times, Man Group could announce a management reshuffle when the new Chief Executive Officer moves in at the end of this month.
The Takeover Panel - the British watchdog - is being urged by investors to step in over the battle for control of troubled Indonesian coal miner Bumi plc. It comes as Bumi plc shareholders prepare to meet Thursday to vote on co-founder Nathaniel Rothschild's proposal to replace 12 of the 14 directors on the board.
FTSE 100 - Risers
ITV (ITV) 120.50p +2.99%
Hammerson (HMSO) 496.70p +1.95%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,707.00p +1.61%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,355.00p +1.60%
National Grid (NG.) 692.50p +1.54%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,603.00p +1.20%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 2,002.00p +0.91%
Old Mutual (OML) 198.00p +0.71%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 263.00p +0.69%
IMI (IMI) 1,168.00p +0.69%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 391.90p -2.68%
Carnival (CCL) 2,456.00p -1.96%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,099.00p -1.79%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 733.50p -1.74%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 224.50p -1.49%
Evraz (EVR) 285.50p -1.38%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,514.00p -1.33%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,247.00p -1.27%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,282.00p -1.23%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 930.50p -1.01%
FTSE 250 - Risers
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 293.40p +7.63%
Bumi (BUMI) 389.90p +3.34%
Computacenter (CCC) 497.80p +3.06%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 127.20p +2.58%
Herald Inv Trust (HRI) 568.00p +2.53%
Man Group (EMG) 110.30p +2.51%
LondonMetric Property (LMP) 115.90p +1.85%
Betfair Group (BET) 697.50p +1.75%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,309.00p +1.63%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 331.60p +1.59%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,401.00p -3.52%
Britvic (BVIC) 390.30p -3.37%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 285.10p -3.36%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 284.20p -3.10%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 364.90p -2.75%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 658.00p -2.59%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 500.50p -2.34%
Homeserve (HSV) 236.00p -2.28%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,683.00p -2.26%
Carillion (CLLN) 301.60p -2.20%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 18.00p +6.67%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 1,180.00p +4.61%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 2.45p +4.26%
E2V Technologies (E2V) 120.00p +1.69%
Vislink (VLK) 32.50p +1.56%
Kofax (KFX) 273.75p +1.39%
Emblaze Ltd. (BLZ) 47.00p +1.08%
Innovation Group (TIG) 25.25p +1.00%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 682.50p +0.74%
CML Microsystems (CML) 445.00p +0.23%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Phytopharm (PYM) 1.95p -80.50%
Hiwave Technologies (HIW) 0.25p -64.29%
Phoenix IT Group (PNX) 153.26p -2.38%
Filtronic (FTC) 64.00p -1.16%
Vectura Group (VEC) 93.25p -1.06%
Torotrak (TRK) 24.00p -1.03%
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 200.00p -0.99%
Optos (OPTS) 210.00p -0.94%
Microgen (MCGN) 119.00p -0.83%
Ricardo (RCDO) 401.67p -0.82%