A trader monitors the screen on a trading floor in London.

London - Britain's leading blue-chip index fell in early trade on Wednesday, as a number of heavyweight firms traded ex-dividend, taking the FTSE back from the 5-year highs hit in the previous session.

Ex-dividend factors took around 8 points off the index, enough to take it into negative territory, as Barclays, Carnival, GlaxoSmithKline and Reckitt Benckiser all traded without entitlement to their latest payout.

Barclays, GSK and Reckitt were three of the top four fallers on the index in early trade.

By 10:01 SA time, the FTSE 100 was down by 4.74 points, or 0.1 percent, at 6,374.33, having risen 1 percent to post its highest close in five years on Tuesday. - Reuters