UK stocks : FTSE 100 dips 0.2 pct
Miners shed 0.7 percent as investors, gearing up for data out of top metals consumer China in the next two weeks, including fourth-quarter GDP, moved to lock in profits.
The sector had rallied around 16 percent from a November trough.
Societe Generale, in a note, said it reckons a hard landing in China remains a real risk despite recent signs of economic improvement.
SocGen recommended playing this possibility by selling European miners, as well as the tech hardware and personal goods sectors - which also have high exposure to Asia - while buying into media and food retail stocks.
Investors were also wary as the fourth-quarter U.S. earnings season gets underway, with figures due from Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminium producer, after the Wall Street close on Tuesday.
"There's maybe just a little bit of fear coming in with regards to the reporting season which we are literally just starting on in America," Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG Index, said.
"With Alcoa being the aluminium producer it is, it does give a relatively decent barometer of how the land might lie for the likes of the automotives, aeronautical, manufacturers, housing ... and the miners."
Anglo American bucked weakness in the sector as investors welcomed news that Australian mining executive Mark Cutifani had been appointed its chief executive.
Anglo shares, which have underperformed the sector by around 20
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