Investors were worried that the US-China trade war would not stop before the currently agreed ceasefire ends in March as a meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping now looks unlikely to happen this month.
The FTSE 100 dipped 0.3% to 7,071 but this was a modest decline compared to the 1.2% fall in Germany's DAX.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones slipped 1.1% to 24,896 by around 4:45pm UK time.
Brent crude oil was stable at $61.59 per barrel.
LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Energy utility SSE shed 0.2% to £11.71 after it downgraded its annual earnings forecast, blaming a delay in receiving government funding to ensure reliability of electricity supplies.
London West End property investor Shaftesbury said footfall at its locations had been 'robust' over the Christmas and New Year trading period. Its shares, however, fell 1.3% to 871p.
Shares in luxury retailer Burberry rose 1.3% to £18.69 after rival Hermes delivered an upbeat trading update.
SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Residential care homes specialist CareTech was unmoved at 343p despite gaining unconditional clearance for its acquisition of Cambian.
The bid battle between Visa and Mastercard for cross-border payments firm Earthport intensified, triggering a 16% share price rally at Earthport to 45p.
Tech company Cloudbuy fell 14.3% to 3p, paring earlier heavier losses, after it forecast annual revenue to fall by a quarter, as older contracts won in 2016 were not renewed.
Alternative finance group GLI Finance tumbled 31% to 5p after it said it would close a key subsidiary due to poor performance, and warned of material write-downs in its Fintech division.
Tower Resources jumped 6.7% to 0.9p amid news that a joint venture led by Total had discovered natural gas and condensate close to one of its assets offshore South Africa.
Online retailer MySale slumped 9.5% to 20.5p on announcing it would post an underlying loss in the first half due to Australian tax regulation, product mix and inventory issues.
Smart Metering Systems said it had won a smart meter installation contract with Co-operative Energy, while forecasting an annual result in line with market expectations. Its shares shed 1.9% to 625p.
Ecuador-focused miner SolGold said it was disappointed that Cornerstone Capital Resources had so swiftly dismissed a takeover approach and that it had decided to take its offer directly to the target's shareholders. Its shares ticked up 1.5% to 36p.