London shares closed lower at the end of trade on Friday as cautious investors paused after a Fed-inspired rally and ahead of weekend elections in eurozone powerhouse Germany.

The FTSE 100 lost 0.44 percent to 6,596.43 points.

"The German Bundestag elections are one of the most important events on the international scene in 2013, and are a key step towards the European Union's future," said market strategist Brenda Kelly at trading firm IG.

"The political-economic role that Germany plays in Europe is crucial for the developments faced by the eurozone in times to come, so it is little surprise that there is a degree of caution in equity markets as we head into the end of the week."

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives are widely expected to win a third term in this Sunday's general election, but an uneasy coalition with the opposition Social Democratic Party appears increasingly likely.

Back in London, Lloyds Banking Group remained the most traded blue-chip by volume with 667.38 million units switching owners, followed by Vodafone which saw 132.27 million units change hands.

The day's best performer was Shire, which rose 2.01 percent to 2593. It was followed by Persimmon climbing 1.44 percent to 1127.

Antofagasta was the biggest loser, falling 3.89 percent to 851.50. Vedanta was next descending 4.37 percent to 1116.

On the currency markets, sterling slipped to $1.6022 at 5:07pm from $1.6032 at the same time on Thursday, and also lost 1.1847 euros from 1.1850 over the same period.