On March 18, London stocks lowered following the announcement that unemployment has risen above the two million mark for the first time in over 10 years.

The FTSE 100 index of leading shares fell 1.4 percent to close at 3,804.99 points after the news from the Office for National Statistics that joblessness had jumped to a 12-year high in the three months to January.

The most traded stock was Vodafone with 140 million shares traded , followed by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which saw 117 million shares switch owners.

Barclays was the best blue chip performer, up 4.7 pence -- or 5.15 percent -- to finish at 96, followed by insurance and financial services group Legal and General, which added 1.5 pence -- or 5.05 percent -- to stand at 31.2.

The biggest losers were mining company Rio Tinto, which slipped 6.76 percent to finish at 1848, followed by insurer Friends Provident, which shed 6.65 percent to end at 61.8.

The pound was also trading marginally down against the dollar and also slipped against the euro.