The FTSE 100 slipped into the red in early trading on Monday morning as investors took a breather after the impressive rally seen so far in 2013.
Since the start of the year, the index has risen a whopping 7.62% and is now trading at levels not seen since mid-2008.
"We may see a break in the recent stock market rally this week, as corporate earnings season begins to wind down and focus turns to the Eurozone," said market analyst James Hughes from Alpari.
"Corporate earnings season has been a major driver behind the stock market rally over the past month, and with that now coming to an end, we could now see the rally run out of steam. Economic data has been quite mixed over the past few weeks, with the fiscal cliff in the US taking its toll on everything from sentiment to consumer spending."
Nevertheless, Hughes did highlight Friday's jobs report from the US as a positive, which showed huge upward revisions to previous months' data.
Barclays leads Footsie lower
UK lender Barclays was out of favour early on after announcing that its long-running Finance Director, Chris Lucas, has stepped down ahead of the group's conclusion of its strategic review in the coming weeks. Mark Harding, the Group General Counsel who has been with the bank for 10 years, has also decided to call it quits.
The wider banking sector was subdued this morning ahead of an announcement by Chancellor George Osborne, who is expected to unveil plans to "electrify" the ringfence - this would mean that commercial and investment banking activities could be separated if lenders are seen breaking rules.
However, Anthony Browne, the Chief Executive of the British Bankers' Association said: "This will create uncertainty for investors, making it more difficult for banks to raise capital which will ultimately mean that banks will have less money to lend to businesses."
HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered were trading flat to slightly lower in the opening hour.
Diversified mining group Anglo American gained despite saying that its troubled South African platinum division fell sharply into the red in 2012. Amplats reported a IFRS headline loss of 1,468m South African rand, or $170m, for the 12 months to December 31st, compared with a $527m profit in 2011.
Fellow miner Randgold was also wanted after full-year profits rose 16% to $511m. Production levels for the year also rose 14% to 794,844 ounces of gold.
Aerospace engineer Meggitt was under the weather after UBS downgraded the stock from 'buy' to 'neutral'. Chemicals group Johnson Matthey was also hit by a ratings cut by Citigroup to 'neutral'.
FTSE 250 oil and gas group Salamander Energy was a high riser after discovering oil at the first well in its multi-well programme in the North Kutei Basin. Sector peer EnQuest also rose after saying that oil production is line with its guidance.
AIM-listed luxury interior furnishings group Walker Greenbank surged after saying it expects pre-tax profits for the year to be ahead of the top end of analyst forecasts, following a good first half performance.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,169.00p +1.59%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,402.00p +1.08%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 6,145.00p +0.99%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 833.00p +0.60%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 735.50p +0.55%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,370.00p +0.51%
BG Group (BG.) 1,128.50p +0.49%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,636.00p +0.49%
Evraz (EVR) 298.30p +0.44%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,904.00p +0.42%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Meggitt (MGGT) 431.40p -2.27%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,133.00p -2.24%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 170.70p -1.59%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,290.00p -1.55%
Glencore International (GLEN) 392.25p -1.41%
Xstrata (XTA) 1,180.50p -1.21%
Aviva (AV.) 363.80p -1.17%
CRH (CRH) 1,353.00p -1.17%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 238.00p -1.04%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,608.00p -0.92%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Salamander Energy (SMDR) 200.00p +7.53%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 414.80p +2.95%
Perform Group (PER) 388.00p +2.65%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,185.00p +1.72%
Homeserve (HSV) 239.80p +1.61%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,336.00p +1.60%
Afren (AFR) 156.10p +1.36%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,738.00p +1.34%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 559.50p +1.27%
BTG (BTG) 338.60p +1.26%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Carpetright (CPR) 681.12p -2.70%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,045.56p -2.01%
Chemring Group (CHG) 289.20p -1.97%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 59.40p -1.66%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 354.10p -1.56%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 307.90p -1.54%
Carillion (CLLN) 304.40p -1.52%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 104.40p -1.51%
ITE Group (ITE) 252.60p -1.37%
Bankers Inv Trust (BNKR) 491.20p -1.27%