LONDON -- After an unusually resilient week for the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) this week, the London index of top shares opened sharply down today, falling 1% by mid-morning to stand on 5,510 points. The spur seems to be Moody's downgrading of 15 major banks late yesterday, including the U.K.'s Royal Bank of Scotland,Barclays, HSBC Holdings, and Lloyds Banking Group, which knocked the shine off the week's rising eurozone optimism.
European indexes suffered similarly, with the French CAC 40 and the German DAX both also down around 1%, to 3,093 and 6,278 points respectively.
It was largely a down day for individual shares, too, with quite a few early fallers.
Max Petroleum saw a mammoth 51% slashed off its shares, which fell 4.5 pence to 4.2 pence after announcing its drilling rig has become stuck for the second time at its NUR-1 well in Kazakhstan.
FTSE 100 miners continued to fall in early trading, with Antofagasta down 2.3% to 1,055 pence, BHP Billiton down 2.4% to 1,776 pence, Rio Tinto down 1.3% to 2,962 pence, Xstrata down 2% to 823 pence, and Anglo American (ISE: AAL.L) down 1.3% to 2,075 pence.
Aquarius Platinum continued its slide from yesterday after mothballing one of its mines to fall a further 5% to 51 pence, while Fortune Oil had 3% lopped off its price, falling to 9.4 pence. Vedanta Resources slid 3.5% to 897 pence, and Tullow Oil dropped 3.4% to 1,431 pence.
Marks & Spencer fell, too -- by 9.9 pence to 327 pence for a fall of 3% on no real news. Clean Air Power lost 10% in an absence of news to finish at 11 pence.
Up and away...
But it wasn't all bad news, as SkyePharma (ISE: SKP.L) enjoyed an early 6% boost. Its shares rose 4 pence to 73 pence after the drug delivery specialist announced a successful phase-3 result for clinical studies of its KRP-108 product.
And Independent News & Media (ISE: INM.L) , which announced its intention to delist from the New Zealand stock exchange (while retaining London and Dublin listings) earlier in the week, gained 6.6% to reach 0.24 euros.
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