The top share index looked set for a dull return after the Christmas break with the FTSE 100 <.FTSE> seen opening down 1-2 points on Wednesday, according to financial bookmakers, stalling after a pre-holiday rally in tandem with weakness on Wall street and in Asia.
U.S. blue chips <.DJI> ended flat to lower on Tuesday after fluctuating between small gains and losses in a light-volume session, as investors took a breather following a 5 percent rally last week, and with the session's U.S. data proving mixed.
Better-than-expected data on consumer confidence, which hit an eight-month high in December, was offset by news U.S. single-family home prices fell slightly more than expected in October, according to S&P/Case-Shiller data.
Asian shares eased on Wednesday, also in low volume with many market players away for year-end holidays. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> was down 1.0 percent.
Copper prices dropped on Wednesday, snapping four days of gains, on concerns that demand may wane after the report showing weak house prices in the United States, the world's largest economy.
A bigger-than-expected slump in Japan's November factory output after Europe's debt crisis and flooding in Thailand hit major manufacturers also hurt copper prices.
But Brent crude held steady above $109 a barrel after rallying for six straight sessions, supported by Iran's threat to halt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz.
The UK blue chip index closed up 55.73 points, or 1.0 percent on Friday at 5,512.70, extending the previous session's 1.3 percent rise.
The belated pre-Christmas rally meant the FTSE 100 turned marginally positive for December -- at its lowest point in the month the index was down 3.2 percent.
London markets are open as normal on Wednesday and Thursday this week but will close at 12:30 a.m. on Friday ahead of the New Year holiday.
No important British economic data will be released on Wednesday, with nothing scheduled all week aside from December's Nationwide British house prices report, due on a date yet to be decided.
Across the Atlantic, the latest weekly U.S. mortgage and refinancing index will be released at 12:00 p.m., with the Dallas Fed services report due at 3:30 p.m.
(Editing by David Cowell)