Late pick up halts slide in shares
However, the FTSE 100 index was comfortably above the 6,000 level after an initial surge towards 6,100 and then a dip to 5,994 in mid-afternoon trade.
The blue chip index closed down 23.7 pts at 6,060.1 on renewed concerns about China’s manufacturing sector which contracted at its fastest pace in almost three-and-a-half years in January.
Shares in BP were down ahead of fourth quarter figures. Earnings in the final three months of 2015 are expected to be about $730m (£514m) from $2.2bn a year earlier. Royal Dutch Shell was also lower.
Prudential was another faller following the retirement of its executive director Michael McLintock who will be succeeded by Anne Richards. McLintock is the fourth high-profile departure from the group in the last 12 months.
BT after reporting its best revenue growth for seven years in the latest quarter.
In the US, Twitter shares rose 10% on speculation of a deal with private equity firm Silver Lake. The social media company has yet to make a profit and has no date for when it will do so.
It is expected to appoint a chief marketing officer ahead of its quarterly profit report on 10 February.