The FTSE 100 was trading slightly lower on Monday morning with heavyweight mining stocks providing a drag as investors scaled back their appetite for risk.
Markets were rangebound today with less than 30 points separating the FTSE 100's intraday low (6,477) and high (6,506). This follows the index's second weekly decline in a row last week.
With the economic data calendar looking pretty bare over the next two days, the focus is likely to remain on the Federal Reserve ahead of the minutes of the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting to be released on Wednesday.
"Markets are lacking any real direction at the moment, with the prospect of the Fed reducing its asset purchases in September having a bigger impact than anything else," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
"Investors don't really have too much else to focus on, with the corporate earnings season drawing to a close and the economic calendar looking very light," he said.
FTSE 100: Miners lead the downside
Mining stocks were in the red this morning with Glencore Xstrata and BHP Billiton both lower ahead of their first-half and full-year results tomorrow, respectively. Market chatter this morning suggested that Glencore Xstrata could write down the value of its assets inherited from Xstrata during the merger by as much as $7.0bn.
Anglo American, Fresnillo, Rio Tinto and Vedanta were also registering losses with the latter down despite announcing over the weekend that it has completed the merger of two of its subsidiaries, Sesa Goa and Sterlite Industries.
Pharmaceuticals group Shire was a high riser after The Sunday Times said that it had hired advisory firm Lazard Ltd to help defend it against a takeover bid.
Defence group BAE Systems was up on hopes that its Eurofighter consortium with EADS and Finmeccanica could grab a huge contract to supply South Korea with combat aircrafts.
Utilities group SSE was trading higher after HSBC upgraded the stock from 'underweight' to 'neutral', saying that the Energy Market Reform offers a "glimmer of hope". The broker said that SSE's "risk profile [is] reduced in line with peers on greater business visibility.
Vodafone was lower after reports said the telecoms giant has paid millions to HMRC to settle a dispute over tax returns of its Irish subsidiary.
Meanwhile, state-back lender RBS was out of favour after it was rumoured that its planned sale of branches could be delayed by over two years.
FTSE 250: Kentz rockets after AMEC approach
Engineering solutions group Kentz Corporation saw shares
surge this morning after saying that a 565-580p-a-share proposal from AMEC undervalued the company and was rejected by its board. The approach values Kentz at around £680m, compared with Friday's market cap of £561m (476p a share).
Housebuilder Bovis Homes gained after reporting a 19% jump in pre-tax profits in the first half and giving an upbeat outlook for the rest of the year with demand being supported by the government's 'Help to Buy' scheme.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,438.00p +2.22%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,270.00p +2.01%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,282.00p +1.99%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 460.30p +1.54%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,965.00p +1.34%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,133.00p +1.33%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 385.60p +1.31%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,677.00p +1.27%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,349.00p +1.20%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 893.00p +1.13%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Anglo American (AAL) 1,504.00p -2.81%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,038.00p -1.80%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 302.80p -1.80%
Old Mutual (OML) 194.50p -1.52%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,155.00p -1.45%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,080.00p -1.36%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 189.95p -1.22%
BG Group (BG.) 1,168.50p -1.18%
G4S (GFS) 246.60p -1.16%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 339.10p -1.14%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 582.50p +22.40%
Halfords Group (HFD) 373.60p +4.65%
Rightmove (RMV) 2,358.00p +4.15%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 151.20p +3.35%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,783.00p +3.06%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 165.40p +3.05%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 650.50p +2.60%
BH Global Ltd. USD Shares (BHGU) 11.89 +2.50%
Spectris (SXS) 2,310.00p +2.44%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 132.20p +2.40%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 234.40p -3.93%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 306.70p -3.10%
Perform Group (PER) 517.00p -2.54%
Computacenter (CCC) 512.00p -2.48%
JPMorgan Indian Inv Trust (JII) 304.50p -2.40%
Xaar (XAR) 832.50p -2.06%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 277.60p -1.91%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,066.00p -1.85%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 546.50p -1.62%
Investec (INVP) 432.60p -1.59%