FTSE 100 in the red on global growth fears

FTSE 100 in the red

London’s blue-chip index was in the red on Friday as investors fretted about global growth and an economic slowdown in China.

The FTSE 100 closed down 32.33 points, or 0.47%, at 6,845.17.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Concerns about global growth set in after China revealed some broadly disappointing economic data overnight.

“The fixed asset investment update topped the forecasts, but the retail sales and industrial production reports showed a large decline in growth, and this worried traders.”

Mr Madden said the tariffs imposed on China by the US in the ongoing trade dispute have not hurt Chinese importers’ demand for American goods, but the Chinese “economy is clearly cooling, and at some point that is likely to show up in the trade figures”.

Elsewhere, the pound was weaker on continued uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Although there is not much support for a no-deal Brexit, Mr Madden said there are growing fears that it might happen by accident.

Sterling was down 0.7% against the US dollar at 1.256 and fell 0.15% versus the euro to 1.112 at the London market close.

In corporate news, Balfour Beatty said it will beat its annual expectations due to an additional sale of one of its assets.

The infrastructure group upped its forecasts after agreeing the sale of an infrastructure investment, pushing expected profits from infrastructure disposals to £65 million.

Balfour shares closed 9.20p higher at 255.3p.

Recruitment specialist SThree upgraded its full-year profit forecasts and announced the departure of its chief executive.

The group, which specialises in science and technology staffing, said profits will come in slightly ahead of market expectations after a “strong” finish to the year.

SThree shares rose 10p to 270p.

London Stock Exchange Group appointed Experian’s Don Robert as chairman, a year after a bitter public dispute within the company’s boardroom.

Mr Robert will join the group as a non-executive director at the start of January and will succeed Donald Brydon as chairman at the end of the annual general meeting on May 1.

LSE shares were down 10p to 4,040p.

Daily Mirror publisher Reach said its 2018 performance will be ahead of market expectations following its takeover of the Daily Express and other titles.

The group now expects to deliver £3 million in cost savings from the merger this year, ahead of a previous target of £2 million.

Reach shares were up 6p to 63p.

A barrel of Brent crude was trading down 2.3% at 60.25 US dollars.

Germany’s DAX was down 0.54% and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.88%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were GVC up 60p to 721.5p, Paddy Power up 180p to 6,605p, International Consolidated Airlines Group up 8.20p to 618.6p, and Ocado up 10.6p to 815p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Evraz down 18.90p to 464.4p, Tesco down 5.7p to 192.9p, Barratt Developments down 12.20p to 440.5p, and Persimmon down 52.50p to 1,897p.