FTSE 100 closes in negative territory

London stock brokers (file photo) Image copyright AFP

(Close): The FTSE 100 has given up early gains, as share falls in insurers and oil firms weighed on the index.

Prudential was the biggest loser on the FTSE 100 with a 3% loss and Aviva was 1.1% lower.

BP fell 2.4%, hurt by falling crude oil prices.

Winners included BT Group, which rose 1.9% after it reported a 24% rise in profits. Ryanair jumped 5.5% after it said quarterly profits doubled.

Rolls-Royce shares were flat, despite announcing a £1.9bn order for engines from Norwegian Airlines.

Brenda Kelly, head analyst at London Capital Group expects further volatility for shares this week. "Wild swings are characteristic of a down-trending market," she said.

Ms Kelly also pointed out that investors will be closely watching the oil price at the moment, which she says has a big influence on the FTSE 100.

Brent Crude recovered some of its early losses, but was still trading 4.3% lower at $34.44 a barrel.

Shares in Premier Oil more than doubled in value to 39.5p after they started trading again, following a near-three week suspension.

On 13 January Premier Oil agreed to buy the North Sea assets of E.On. Since then its shares have been suspended.

On the currency markets, the pound was up 0.2% against the dollar to $1.4273.

It was 0.1% lower against the euro at €1.3133.