Britain's leading share index beat a retreat on Tuesday, falling back after strong U.S. data-led gains on Monday as investors awaited more clues to the state of the world's biggest economy, notably minutes from the last Fed meeting due at 7.00 p.m.
The FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index closed down 36.55 points, or 0.6 percent at 5,838.34 after recording its biggest daily rise in two months on Monday.
Today's session can be summed up as a mild bout of profit taking which was understandable considering that the FTSE has rallied almost two percent in as many days, said Angus Campbell, Head of Market Analysis at Capital Spreads.
The index had a look at the 5,900 level before rejecting it and gradually grinded lower ...(with) any prospect of a meaningful gain wiped out when U.S. factory goods orders disappointed, Campbell added.
After Monday's above-forecast U.S. manufacturing data, February factory orders were a touch below estimates, although they still saw a rebound from a decline in the previous month.
Investors were more keenly awaiting the minutes for March's Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting when policymakers signalled little appetite for further monetary steps to stimulate U.S. growth.
U.S. blue chips <.DJ1> were 0.4 percent lower by London's close, also slipping back after strong gains in the previous session, ahead of the FOMC minutes.
Weaker energy stocks <.FTNMX0530> were the biggest drag on the blue chips, with the sector tracking easier crude prices after gains in the previous session.
Miners <.FTNMX1770> similarly tracked lower with easier copper prices as Monday's gains were pared back.
And banks <.FTNMX8350>, which also led the leap higher on Monday, were weak as well.
Royal Bank of Scotland
Broker comment was influential among other financial stocks.
South African-based insurer and fund manager Old Mutual
However, fund manager Aberdeen Asset
Morgan Stanley raised its target price for Aberdeen to 314 pence from 260 pence and called the stock a core pick in the diversified financials universe.
Away from financials, broker comment also gave a lift to Burberry
The company has been transformed under CEO Angela Ahrendts' strategy, but we see much more to come, Investec said in a note in which its full-year pretax profit forecasts for 2013 and 2014 were moved to around 2 percent and 6 percent ahead of consensus.
But contract caterer Compass Group shed 1.8 percent as Morgan Stanley cut its rating to equal-weight, while upping its target price to 670 pence from 630 pence, and raising its EPS estimates by 1 percent, citing valuation grounds.
(Editing by Ron Askew)