LONDON (AFP) – London shares opened lower on Wednesday on a technical adjustment as more shares went ex-dividend.
The benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 26.97 points or 0.42 percent to 6,426.49 points at 8:46 am.
The market was focused on the release on Wednesday of minutes from the US Federal Reserve Board's most recent meeting, with investors looking for clues to its next move over its quantitative easing (QE) stimulus policy, traders said.
With the US economy showing signs of improvement, analysts say the Fed will likely slow its vast bond-buying programme.
"Investors are very much anticipating the next round of QE newsflow and probably won't do a great deal until any new information becomes known," said Spreadex trader David White.
"The risk for investors is indeed that the Fed delivers tapering at a pace faster than predicted. Any such process will likely upset the equity market and send treasuries into a spin."
InterContinental Hotels, one of the stocks going ex-dividend, led the decliners with a 6.07 percent plunge to 1,858 pence.
Global banking giant HSBC also had a negative morning, dropping 2.60 percent to 685.90 pence, while Aberdeen Asset Management shed 2.43 percent to 369.60 pence.
Insurer Standard Life jumped 3.76 percent to 355.80 pence, with resources group Glencore Xstrata adding 1.82 percent to 302.55 pence.
State-rescued Lloyds Banking Group rose 0.43 percent to 74.12 pence as it announced two disposals for a total of around ??500 million.
The bank said it had agreed to sell its German life insurance division for around 300 million euros and is offloading a portfolio of leveraged loans to Goldman Sachs subsidiary ELQ Investors II Limited for ??254 million in cash.