London shares closed lower on Wednesday, weighed down by a string of blue-chip companies passing a key deadline for share transactions, traders said.

Shares bought on or after a firm's ex-dividend date do not entitle their owners to any dividend payouts.

The date passed for several companies this week, including global miner Rio Tinto, pulling prices lower.

London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares started the day higher but eventually dipped to end 0.37 percent lower at 6,587.43 points.

The early rise was linked to statistics showing that eurozone economies are starting to emerge from 18 months of recession.

But Spreadex trader Shavaz Dhalla added: "Once the realisation kicked in that the overall GDP is probably skewed by economic powerhouses such as Germany, and in reality, nations like Greece are still in a dire economic state... investors (panicked) and the sell-off began."

The eurozone has climbed out of recession at last with surprisingly strong growth of 0.3 percent in the second quarter led by Germany and France, the European Union said on Wednesday.

Behind the headline gains, the third- and fourth-largest eurozone economies of Italy and Spain pulled up short, with their economies shrinking 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

In Britain, minutes of the Bank of England's last policy meeting were released, showing divisions over its new policy of providing forward guidance about interest rates.

Investors took this as an indication that the currently low rates could be hiked sooner than previously expected.

Britain's unemployment rate remains at 7.8 percent, significantly above a level that could trigger the Bank of England to raise its main interest rate, official data showed on Wednesday,

Financials traded well with Royal Bank of Scotland the star performer soaring by 3.51 percent to 344.70 pence after ratings agency Fitch said the state-owned lender will probably not break up because costs would outweigh benefits.

Weir Group also gained ground, adding 1.96 percent to 2292 pence.

It was a difficult session for house building company Persimmon, the worst performing blue-chip which fell 3.5 percent to 1184 pence. Kazakh miner Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation also dropped sharply after a steeper than expected drop in first half profit, down 3.04 percent to 229.3 pence.

Lloyds Bank was the most traded stock, with 146.63 million units changing hands.

On the currency markets, the pound strengthened to 1.5474 dollars against the dollar at 5.03pm from 1.5444 dollars on Tuesday.

Sterling stood at 85.45 pence against the euro from 85.86 pence on Tuesday.

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