The FTSE 100 share index fell early on Tuesday. At 08:34 on Tuesday the FTSE 100 was down 41.2 points to 5,973.6 (down 0.7 per cent).

Banks all began the day with losses. Barclays, HSBC, HBOS, Standard Chartered, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB all fell by 1-3 per cent each.

Mining companies also dropped thanks to lower metal prices. Kazakhmys fell 0.7 per cent, Anglo American was down 0.7 per cent, Vedanta Resources was down 1.1 per cent and Lonmin fell 1.5 per cent.

Scottish & Southern Energy also fell 1 per cent after news that Ofgem was beginning an investigation following a complaint about abuse of dominant market positions.

Tate & Lyle dropped 1.5 per cent.

Drugmaker AstraZeneca also fell 1.3 per cent.