- FTSE closes down 2.41 points at 6,775.25
- Yellen says still slack in labour market
- ECB president due to speak after close
techMARK 2,823.22 +0.12%
FTSE 100 6,775.25 -0.04%
FTSE 250 15,881.08 +0.27%
After a relatively quiet day, much of which was spent waiting for a speech from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, the FTSE 100 closed down 2.41 points at 6,775.25.
The index suffered a sharp dip late morning, although this was largely recovered by early afternoon.
"With minimal data, most of the day was spent waiting for Jackson Hole in case Fed Chair Janet Yellen in her speech decided to rock markets with overly dovish or hawkish rhetoric, as it turned out she walked the line between the two," CMC market analyst Jasper Lawler said.
"The FTSE 100 was trading just beneath the three week high made on Wednesday and despite the brief wobble over the Russian aid convoy stayed there up until and Yellen's speech and dipped going into the close."
Yellen: Jobs market still sees slack
Yellen said that there continued to be "remaining slack in the labour market", which she said needs to be "more nuanced" due to the "considerable uncertainty" in the employment level.
Addressing her audience at Jackson Hole, Yellen said labour resources were underutilised, something she believes "remained significant" to economic growth.
"The initial reaction to Yellen's speech was higher stocks, higher dollar
and higher short-dated treasury yields," Lawler said.
"This could show a divergence in opinion across asset classes as to what the speech means for monetary policy, but more likely means nothing much was said and asset prices just maintained existing trends."
Meanwhile, European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi is also a guest speaker at Jackson Hole. He will be closely watched by the market given recent calls for the ECB to act to boost growth in the Eurozone, although he is not due to speak until after the close.
That came amid reports of renewed tensions along the border of Ukraine and Russia after the Russian aid convoy entered Ukraine without authorisation from Kiev nor escorts from the International Red Cross.
Ukrainian state security chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko has been quoted as saying that the move is a "direct invasion by Russia of Ukraine".
Critically, Ukraine's state security chief has reportedly said that it will not use force against the Russian aid convoy which has entered its territory.
Vodafone continues to rise on bid speculation
Telecoms group Vodafone was extending gains made on Thursday on the back of rumours that advisers of US giant AT&T are working on a cash bid worth more than 300p a share, compared with current prices of just over 200p. AT&T ruled out an offer back in January, meaning that it is now free to revisit an approach under UK takeover 'cooling off' rules.
The London Stock Exchange was also higher after it reported a boost to profits from a surge in flotations in its first quarter but shares
fell as it unveiled details of a £938m rights issue to bankroll its proposed acquisition of US financial index business Frank Russell.
Royal Mail was once again rising strongly, having had a rather turbulent week amid concerns about its outlook.
Banking groups Lloyds and HSBC were also top performers.
Meanwhile, mining groups extended Thursday's losses, with BHP Billiton continuing to fall following Tuesday's underwhelming plans for a demerger. Fresnillo, Anglo American and Rio Tinto were all in the bottom 10 on Friday afternoon.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Royal Mail (RMG) 449.80p +2.16%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,154.00p +1.85%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 205.85p +1.60%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 76.25p +1.34%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 2,029.00p +1.20%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 952.00p +1.17%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,740.00p +1.16%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 5,265.00p +1.15%
Tesco (TSCO) 248.00p +1.02%
Barclays (BARC) 222.80p +0.91%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 921.50p -1.76%
CRH (CRH) 1,379.00p -1.57%
SSE (SSE) 1,497.00p -1.51%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,022.00p -1.45%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,944.00p -1.37%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,392.50p -1.18%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,556.50p -1.08%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,007.00p -1.08%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,607.00p -0.95%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,429.00p -0.90%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,338.00p +3.91%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 125.20p +3.47%
Essentra (ESNT) 853.50p +3.08%
Premier Oil (PMO) 344.50p +2.93%
Hellermanntyton Group (HTY) 309.70p +2.86%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 144.00p +2.86%
ITE Group (ITE) 200.60p +2.82%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 286.90p +2.54%
DCC (DCC) 3,461.00p +2.46%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 874.50p +2.46%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 598.00p -3.31%
Perform Group (PER) 195.00p -2.50%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,005.00p -2.14%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 235.60p -1.67%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,188.00p -1.66%
Computacenter (CCC) 618.00p -1.59%
Halfords Group (HFD) 488.50p -1.45%
Senior (SNR) 288.70p -1.27%
BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 491.20p -1.21%
Soco International (SIA) 424.90p -1.19%