- Macro data scares away bulls
- Financials drag blue-chip index lower
- Footsie down 1.3 per cent on the week
The Footsie finished Friday's session close to its worst levels of the day as investors fretted about the global economic outlook; data from China and the US came in worse-than-expected and rising bond yields in the Eurozone were weighing on sentiment.
The index closed down 72 points, or -1.3%, on the week at 5,652, compared with last Thursday's close (Friday was a Bank Holiday) of 5,724.
According to analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari: "Following such a positive first quarter, it's been a week to forget in the US this week as the recovery was dealt a few blows on the economic data front as non-farm payroll figures came in at 120,000, the lowest in 5 months, jobless claims were up and consumer sentiment was lower than expected. This morning's disappointing Q1 GDP data from China has also left investors concerned about the recovery."
Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in China slowed to an annual rate of 8.1% in the first quarter of 2012, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, down from the 8.9% expansion seen in the fourth quarter of last year and worse than the +8.4% estimate.
Rumours of a Spanish bailout (although denied by the ECB) worried the markets today and, together with news that gross borrowing by Spanish banks from the ECB nearly doubled in March, saw the yield on a Spanish 10-year bond jump 15.6 basis points to 5.976%. "Despite all the efforts of the new Spanish government, sentiment may not change unless fiscal execution and economic activity fall into line with government targets," said Barclays Capital in its Global Economics Weekly report.
Meanwhile, US indices opened sharply lower on Wall Street on the back of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index which fell from 76.2 to 75.7 this month. Economists were looking for a flat reading.
In domestic news, the UK output price index slowed to an annual increase of 3.6% last month, compared with 4.1% the month before. The last time the annual rate was lower was in January 2010 (3.5%). Input prices eased but less than economists were expecting due to higher oil prices.
FTSE 100: Financials sink, mining stocks pare gains
Just a handful of blue-chip stocks closed in positive territory as earlier gains for the mining sector were erased. Steel producer Evraz held on to its position at the top of the leaderboard though, finishing up 2%, closely followed by Polymetal.
After initially rising, Xstrata and Glencore finished down after they admitted this morning that their planned tie-up may take a little longer than expected, as they continue discussions with regulatory authorities which require anti-trust filings to be submitted.
Leading the downside were the financials on the back of the gloomy outlook for the global economy - Man Group, Barclays, RBS, Lloyds and Hargreaves Lansdown all finished at least 3% lower.
Business software group Sage was the heavy faller early on after Jefferies downgraded its rating on the stock from buy to hold. "In the absence of any pronounced end-market recovery, we are tempering our group growth assumptions for FY12E, with a modestly improved EBIT margin expectation," the broker said.
FTSE 250: Avocet falls after Inata update
Burkina Faso-focused gold miner Avocet Mining fell after saying it may have to construct a new process plant at its Inata project, rather than just extend the existing plant, in order to provide more processing flexibility.
Oil and gas group Premier Oil was in the red on the back of news that the company is to plug and abandon the Biawak Besar-1x exploration well in Indonesia.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Evraz (EVR) 365.50p +2.27%
Polymetal International (POLY) 967.50p +0.83%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 292.60p +0.41%
Shire Plc (SHP) 1,959.00p +0.36%
International Power (IPR) 403.90p +0.27%
SABMiller (SAB) 2,540.00p +0.08%
SSE (SSE) 1,340.00p +0.07%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Man Group (EMG) 110.00p -4.68%
Barclays (BARC) 214.90p -3.83%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 30.75p -3.63%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 25.05p -3.51%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 460.10p -3.20%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,183.00p -2.79%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 570.00p -2.65%
Sage Group (SGE) 287.70p -2.64%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,299.00p -2.54%
IMI (IMI) 927.00p -2.52%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Elementis (ELM) 204.80p +5.62%
Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CW.) 37.20p +4.91%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,197.00p +2.66%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 294.60p +2.40%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 128.70p +2.14%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 254.80p +2.08%
Salamander Energy (SMDR) 240.00p +1.91%
Telecity Group (TCY) 776.50p +1.90%
Ruspetro (RPO) 198.00p +1.80%
Diploma (DPLM) 432.80p +1.69%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Avocet Mining (AVM) 162.80p -6.17%
Kesa Electricals (KESA) 61.95p -4.91%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 239.40p -4.39%
Fenner (FENR) 427.10p -3.81%
Close Brothers Group (CBG) 734.00p -3.80%
Cape (CIU) 371.80p -3.73%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 1,300.00p -3.56%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 340.00p -3.46%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 506.50p -3.43%
Logica (LOG) 80.85p -3.29%