The FTSE 100 opened broadly flat on Friday morning with markets rangebound as sentiment still remained fragile following the steep sell-off the day before.
The London benchmark lost 1.6% on Thursday after better-than-expected jobless claims data in the States ignited concerns that the Federal Reserve will soon begin to taper its quantitative easing programme.
Wall Street indices fell by a similar amount with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 225 points, its worst one-day drop in two months.
"In Europe this morning, we are flipping between small gains and losses across core indices on taper woes but unsurprisingly, value-hunting traders are attempting to buy the dip but upside momentum is heavily curbed," said Market Strategist Ishaq Siddiqi from ETX Capital.
"Like yesterday, traders are likely to spend the session trimming positions, rebalancing portfolios on the prospect of reduced liquidity in the market place and managing risk just to get ahead of the Fed. It's unlikely we will see many traders have a solid enough excuse to keep buying dips given that tapering fears keep a lid on moves to the upside," he said.
The ongoing violence and rising death toll in Egypt also continues to a worry for markets with oil prices
advancing given the disruption risk to supplies coming through the Suez Canal.
Eurozone consumer price inflation and trade data is due out this morning, while economic indicators in the States will again be in focus with building permits, housing starts and the University of Michigan confidence survey are on tap this afternoon.
Miners rise early on
Mining stocks are providing support this morning with Randgold, Fresnillo, Antofagasta and Glencore Xstrata making gains, possibly as a result of rumours that China could unveil a stimulus package at some point this morning.
Even BHP Billiton was in demand despite the announcement that it could face enforcement action as part of the US regulatory probe linked in part to the hospitality it provided during its sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. On a separate note, it was reported yesterday that a strike at BHP's Escondida project in Chile, the world's largest copper mine, came to an end.
Banking stocks were putting in a mixed performance this morning with RBS and Standard Chartered in the red and Barclays and Lloyds registering gains. Investec was weighing on the share price of RBS after downgrading the stock from 'hold' to 'sell'.
Accountancy software firm Sage was lower after saying that CFO Paul Harrison would step down today, two weeks earlier than originally planned.
On the FTSE 250, wireless technology group Anite was a heavy faller after saying that while full-year forecasts are unchanged, it has seen a slow start in the market for testing mobile handsets.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,187.00p +5.51%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,075.00p +3.78%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,120.00p +2.10%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 945.50p +1.67%
ITV (ITV) 159.00p +1.53%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,572.00p +1.22%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,293.00p +1.09%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 304.95p +1.04%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,226.00p +0.99%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,043.00p +0.97%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 336.80p -1.12%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 882.50p -1.06%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 304.90p -1.04%
Aviva (AV.) 400.10p -1.04%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,240.00p -0.96%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,446.00p -0.96%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,578.00p -0.94%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 867.50p -0.80%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,529.50p -0.78%
Standard Life (SL.) 347.10p -0.69%
FTSE 250 - Risers
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 157.80p +6.62%
Polymetal International (POLY) 757.50p +5.43%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 253.30p +4.80%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 236.50p +4.65%
AZ Electronic Materials SA (DI) (AZEM) 314.40p +3.59%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 37.25p +3.47%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 745.00p +2.97%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 735.00p +2.65%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 187.60p +2.63%
Salamander Energy (SMDR) 125.10p +2.54%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Anite (AIE) 111.80p -11.06%
Bumi (BUMI) 214.30p -2.37%
Keller Group (KLR) 953.00p -2.36%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 660.00p -1.71%
Alent (ALNT) 330.90p -1.64%
NMC Health (NMC) 314.00p -1.57%
SIG (SHI) 175.30p -1.52%
Evraz (EVR) 116.50p -1.35%
JPMorgan Indian Inv Trust (JII) 319.70p -1.11%
Savills (SVS) 612.00p -1.05%