- FTSE ends 80.27 lower at 6,561.70
- Traders may be squaring books ahead of holidays
- Poor weather hits Feb UK construction
- Osborne says economic recovery vindicates his approach
- MPs to move ahead with proposals for all-female short-lists
techMARK 2,670.02 -1.82%
FTSE 100 6,561.70 -1.21%
FTSE 250 15,898.37 -1.55%
UK stocks ended Friday's session having suffered steep losses as technology stocks dragged on the back of a significant sell-off in the US last night and continued early in today's trading.
The FTSE 100 ended the day 80.27 points lower at 6,561.70, down 133.85 points, or 2%, on the week.
To take note of, some of the selling on Wall Street may be linked to next week being a holiday-shortened one. Hence, many traders may have opted to start squaring their positions even as early as yesterday.
UK construction output declined in February as poor weather held back work, according to data released today.
Construction output fell 2.8% in February following a 2.1% rise in January, the Office for National Statistics revealed. It marked the biggest drop since November last year.
Year-on-year, output increased 2.8% in February, compared with 5.7% gain in January. Construction accounts for 6.3% of British gross domestic product.
Osborne hits back at economic critics
Meanwhile, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne hit back at critics of his austerity policies on Friday, saying the UK's economic recovery vindicated his approach.
In excerpts of a speech he is due to deliver later in the day, Osborne was set to say healthier banks and a credible plan to fix public finances were essential to kick-start growth after the credit crunch.
Osborne, who is attending the International Monetary Fund's spring meetings in Washington this week, said the UK economy had grown faster than any other in the G7 in the last year and the IMF was forecasting it to do the same in 2014.
MPs move ahead with proposals for all-female short-lists for business roles
UK MPs have taken a step forward with proposals to gain legal clarification on all-female short-lists for business positions in a bid to boost the number of women in Britain's boardrooms.
A letter has reportedly been sent to the government's equality body calling for a ruling on whether the proposal would be legal, according to Sky News.
Fresnillo escapes the storm after JP Morgan hikes target
JPMorgan Cazenove has lifted its price target for Fresnillo from 965p to 1,030p and kept an 'overweight' rating, saying it continues to favour the Mexican precious metals producer over sector peer Hochschild ('neutral').
"We estimate Fresnillo should continue to enjoy lower average costs, aided by the high-quality Saucito II and San Julian projects. Over the next 10 years, we estimate an average all-in sustaining cost of $13.5/oz for Fresnillo, versus $19.2/oz for Hochschild."
Meanwhile, Hargreaves Lansdown was hit by comments from Morgan Stanley, reducing their target price on the back of pricing pressure and concerns over its net interest income.
Airline rivals easyJet and IAG were flying lower after Heathrow's monthly traffic statistics revealed that 5.8m passengers passed through the London airport in March, down 2.8% on the year before.
Sports Direct led the retail sector lower, which sank despite a positive set of results from upmarket department store John Lewis.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 201.20p +1.98%
Fresnillo (FRES) 908.50p +1.00%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 278.90p +0.58%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,635.00p +0.50%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,413.00p +0.43%
Centrica (CNA) 334.90p +0.36%
BG Group (BG.) 1,113.50p +0.04%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 392.10p -5.27%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,257.00p -5.06%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 771.00p -4.81%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 880.00p -4.71%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 958.50p -4.53%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,803.00p -4.35%
ITV (ITV) 183.00p -3.73%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,700.00p -3.46%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,769.00p -3.12%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,496.00p -2.77%
FTSE 250 - Risers
ITE Group (ITE) 208.30p +3.63%
Genus (GNS) 960.50p +2.18%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 154.50p +1.91%
KCOM Group (KCOM) 101.10p +1.61%
Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT) 1,068.00p +1.23%
Phoenix Group Holdings (DI) (PHNX) 644.00p +1.10%
Hansteen Holdings (HSTN) 110.40p +1.10%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 260.90p +1.08%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 537.50p +0.94%
Hays (HAS) 152.80p +0.92%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Pace (PIC) 404.70p -7.09%
Workspace Group (WKP) 570.00p -5.94%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 199.70p -5.85%
IP Group (IPO) 200.00p -4.99%
Grainger (GRI) 222.90p -4.99%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 386.00p -4.67%
Perform Group (PER) 238.60p -4.64%
Beazley (BEZ) 250.70p -4.57%
Worldwide Healthcare Trust (WWH) 1,217.00p -4.32%
Greencore Group (GNC) 255.50p -4.24%