A 1.5% rally in the price of copper to $3.12 per pound lifted shares in miners, but this failed to push the FTSE 100 into positive territory.
The FTSE retreated 0.1% to 77,168.
Glencore (GLEN) increased 2.5% to 375.8p and Anglo American (AAL) jumped 1.7% to £16.70.
Peers Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP Billiton (BLT) made smaller gains.
Brent crude oil slipped 0.4% to $62.30 per barrel.
UK inflation came in higher than expected in January, at 3% compared to forecasts of 2.9%.
US equities remained volatile ahead of inflation data on Wednesday. The S&P 500 dipped 0.2% to 2,650 around 5pm UK time.
MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
TUI (TUI) sharply cut its seasonal losses in its first quarter to 31 December 2017, driven by good growth in its hotels and resorts, causing the shares to fly 1.2% higher to £16.14.
Computacenter (CCC) was down 5.4% at £10.80 after appointing Peter Ryan as a non-executive director.
SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Car seller Pendragon (PDG) revealed pre-tax profit fell 20% to £60.4m, but this was better than market expectations, helping the shares accelerate 14.4% to 23.9p.
Shares in Audioboom (BOOM) were suspended as it pursues the acquisition of Triton Digital in Canada for $185m, which would constitute a reverse takeover.
A positive production update from small cap oil and gas firm Mosman Oil and Gas (MSMN) triggered a 61.1% rally to 1.4p.
Healthcare finance software supplier Craneware (CRW) won new business deals in the US worth $8.5m, pushing the shares 5.8% higher to £16.90.
Going in the opposite direction was SerVision (SEV) after warning it may have to raise funds or convert debt into equity. The company said there was still a long way to go until it could trade at 'break-even.'
Financial services outsourcer TruFin (TRU) made its AIM debut after raising £70m.