Housebuilders failed to be lifted by the positive sentiment that drove the blue-chip index 0.3pc higher yesterday.
A note from JP Morgan (Other OTC: JPAAZ - news) put them under pressure as it argued that shares across the sector are now pricing in a near-term improvement in housing market conditions. London-listed housebuilders outperformed the FTSE 250 (FTSE: ^FTMC - news) by 40pc in 2012 and 5pc so far this year, according to the broker.
Emily Biddulph, an analyst at JP Morgan, added: "While lead indicators are showing some steady signs of improvement, these are yet to be reflected in market data, and we have little visibility over when and to what extent they will be."
As a result, she downgraded Bellway , which fell 27p to £10.81, and Taylor Wimpey , down 2.6 to 70.6p, to "neutral" from "overweight". Ms Biddulph also cut Redrow , off 8.3 to 184p, and Barratt Developments , down 8.2 to 218.4p, from "neutral" to "underweight". Bovis Homes Group , 12 lower at 618p, got a double-downgrade from "overweight" to "underweight".
In the property sector, St Modwen lost 9 to 225.1p and Grainger (LSE: GRI.L - news) slid 2.8 to 126p. However, property investment company London & Stamford bucked the negative sector trend, gaining 2.1 to 110p.
Tullow, which has a 50pc share of the Kenya licence alongside partners Afren (LSE: AFR.L - news) , which has 20pc, and Canada's Africa Oil (CDNX: AOI.V - news) , the owner of 30pc, said earlier in January that a result from Paipai was expected in February. Yesterday, Tullow shares put on 40p to £11.95.
Second-liner Afren also leapt 12.8 almost 10pc to 152p as a large volume of shares changed hands during the session. Some traders pinned Afren's gains to rumours that two mystery companies are weighing a bid for the oil explorer. Afren declined to comment on the speculation. Other traders pinned Afren's gains to rumours about the positive Papai drilling results.
Back among the blue-chips, Unilever (NYSE: UL - news) rose 75p to £25.26 following final results in which the consumer goods giant revealed last quarter's like-for-like sales surged 7.8pc, beating market expectations.
Chemical company Croda International (Other OTC: COIHF - news) made it on to the leaderboard after broker Berenberg raised its target price on the shares to £27.00 from £26.00. Croda put on 41p to £23.18.
Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE.L - news) put in another strong performance, rising 13 to 825p, a fresh five-year high. Earlier in the week Berenberg argued the company's transformation into a specialist ingredients maker was still being undervalued.
In the mining sector, BHP Billiton (NYSE: BBL - news) advanced 29p to £21.10 following a production update. The world's largest mining company said iron ore, copper and petroleum production increased in the final three months of last year.
On a less positive tack, Tui Travel (LSE: TT.L - news) dropped 14.1 to 278p after Germany's Tui AG (Xetra: TUAG00 - news) which owns 56.4pc of the holiday company said it had decided not to make an offer for the business.
News (NasdaqGS: NWS - news) that Ian Marchant, chief executive of Scottish & Southern Energy , will step down from the power giant in July after 10 years in the job drove down the shares by 53p to £13.82.
Among the mid-cappers, a Morgan Stanley (Xetra: 885836 - news) push failed to lift easyJet . The low-cost airline shares slid 2 to 855p ahead of its first-quarter trading update, which is scheduled for today.
Big Yellow Group , which provides self-storage space, retreated 13.9 to 368p, after it placed 10m shares at 10p apiece to raise £37m. The company said it is using the fresh capital to reduce its debt level, improve "its interest cover at the pre-interest cash flow level" and allow the business to change its dividend policy.
Rightmove (LSE: RMV.L - news) had another good day, with the shares putting on 34p to £16.33 after Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) raised its target price to £19.50 from £17.40. Earlier in the week UBS (Berlin: UBRA.BE - news) also upgraded Rightmove to a "buy" from "hold" and raised its price target to £18.00 from £16.00, reflecting the broker's increased confidence in the property website generating a better performance as the housing market picks up in 2013.
Small cap Nanoco , a nano-technology developer, jumped 23½ 21pc to 133¼p after it signed a major licensing deal with Dow Chemical for the manufacture and sale of Nanoco's cadmium-free quantum dots for use in the LCD screen industry.
Broker Canaccord Genuity increased its price target from 103p to 275p and Liberum raised its price target from 160p to 260p. Private equity (Swiss: PEHN.SW - news) investor 3i was hit by an Oriel Securities downgrade. The shares have performed well since former Greenhill banker Simon Burrows was appointed as chief executive turn around the business last May.
However, Iain Scouller, an analyst at Oriel Securities, said: "3i's price has been caught up in the tide of optimism around financial stocks. We think a lot of good news in terms of realisation gains and other write-ups are priced-in.
"While we expect 3i to sell some businesses in 2013, this is likely to take time and prices are unpredictable, even just prior to sale. As seen previously, given the nature of 3i's business, the share price is particularly sensitive to stockmarket sentiment - in any market correction the price could fall back."
3i dipped 2.2 to 247.4p.