The UK market opened lower, with South African-exposed shares hit after the country's finance minister was sacked.
The removal of Pravin Gordhan after days of speculation sent South Africa's rand lower. Shares in insurer Old Mutual, which has significant interests in South Africa, fell nearly 7%.
Old Mutual was the biggest faller in the FTSE 100, with the benchmark share index down 22.43 points at 7,347.09.
Direct Line shares rose 3.3% after a couple of broker upgrades.
HSBC raised its rating on the UK insurance group to "buy", while it was lifted to "overweight" at JP Morgan.
Among the smaller firms, John Menzies saw its shares jump 7.6% after it said it was in talks with DX Group over the possible combination of DX and John Menzies' distribution unit.
On the currency markets, the pound dipped 0.1% against the dollar to $1.2458, while against the euro it fell 0.3% to 1.1655 euros.