Subdued global trading leaves FTSE 100 nearly flat
The FTSE 100 fell 6.26 points to 7,380.68 points.
The FTSE 100 edged into the red on Friday as a recovery in global equities lost steam amid subdued trading.
London’s blue chip index ended the day relatively flat, down just 0.08% or 6.26 points at 7,380.68 points.
Its European peers suffered larger losses, with the French Cac 40 and German Dax ending the day down 0.32% and 0.41% respectively.
David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said stocks were “subdued” as traders failed to “make up their minds”.
“Dealers are wondering if the sell-off that began last Thursday could continue in the short to medium term. The fact that yesterday’s bullish sentiment wasn’t replicated today could be a sign that markets may turn over next week.
“Buying the dip has been a popular strategy in recent months, but on this occasion there isn’t the same optimism.
“Traders have been talking about a market top for a long time, and in light of the recent declines we may have seen the highs of the year.”
Sterling also struggled to find direction, falling flat against the euro to trade at 1.120 and rising just shy of 0.2% versus the US dollar to 1.321.
Brent crude prices jumped 1.7% to $62.43 per barrel amid continued fears of oversupply that could extend a global energy glut.
In UK stocks, Sky shares topped the FTSE 100, rising 37p to 940p amid news that Comcast and Verizon had expressed interest in snapping up assets from 21st Century Fox – which owns a significant stake in Sky.
Carillion shares plunged 20p to 21.5p, and were temporarily suspended during the trading session, after the troubled construction group warned over profits and said it will breach its financial covenants.
The group said annual profits looked set to be “materially lower than current market expectations” as it grapples with a string of delays and smaller-than-expected improvements to margins on certain contracts.
Despite efforts to drive down costs, haul in cash and push through disposals, the group said it would fail to hit its net debt to earnings ratio of 1 to 1.5 times by the end of 2018.
Shares in toymaker Hornby rose 1.06p to 30.56p as the company confirmed plans to raise £12 million through a fresh equity placing, marking the third time it has turned to investors for extra cash in three years.
The latest funds will be used to shore up the company’s balance sheet, provide “necessary funding to support the new strategy”, and finance the purchase of a 49% stake in Oxford Diecast parent firm LCD Enterprises – a firm majority-owned by new chief executive Lyndon Davies.
The news was released as part of Hornby’s half-year results, which showed a 22% drop in group revenue from £21.9 million to £17 million and a further widening of its statutory loss from £4.7 million to £5.7 million.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Sky up 37p at 940p, Convatec Group up 6.9p at 205.4p, Smurfit Kappa Group up 62p at 2,299p and Kingfisher up 7.2p at 307.3p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were United Utilities down 36.5p at 798p, Mediclinic International down 23p at 555.5p, Severn Trent down 52p at 2,092p, and SSE down 33p at 1,346p.