The FTSE 100 Index was broadly flat at 5869 after reports suggested President Barack Obama was far from agreement with rival Republicans over how to tackle the budget deficit and avoid a series of automatic tax rises and spending cuts on January 1.
Meanwhile, Germany's parliament was preparing to vote on a deal which will see Greece's debt load trimmed and pave the way for 44 billion euros (£35.7 billion) in rescue loans.
While analysts expect the vote to pass, traders remained on the sidelines as they awaited the outcome.
B&Q owner Kingfisher fell to the bottom of the FTSE 100 after brokers at UBS downgraded the group from buy to neutral following yesterday's results.
The group revealed broadly flat retail profit for the third quarter at £257 million, excluding the effect of currency fluctuations, while like-for-like sales at B&Q in the UK and Ireland dropped by a worse-than-expected 4%.
Royal Bank of Scotland was 1% or 4.1p lower at 294.9p as the state-backed lender said its agreement to sell its Indian banking operations to HSBC had lapsed and it will start to wind-down the business.
Outside the top flight, Sportingbet fell more than 1% after it said a lack of sport fixtures had triggered a drop in first-quarter revenues. Shares were 0.5p down at 45.5p.