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Around the World's Markets: London

LONDON BLUE-CHIP shares closed lower for the fifth session, hit by profit-taking and worries over the expiry of option contracts.

The FTSE 100 index fell 26.3 points to 6,114.3, with many buyers staying on the sidelines ahead of today's expiry of the March options series, one of the market's traditional bugbears.

The smaller indices also came under selling pressure, with the FTSE 250 falling 22 points to 5,463.3 and the small cap ending 1.1 lower at 2,373.8.