FTSE 100 Friday close: Syrian conflict weighs on markets

30th August 2013

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Already tested by the upcoming end of easy money, the political wrangling over the Syrian crisis further tested markets this week.

But even as military intervention now looks less likely, and upwardly revised US economic growth numbers for the second quarter gave the market some cheer, the FTSE 100 shed 1 per cent over the week to close at 6,412.93 on Friday, dropping 70.12 points on the day.

The week’s steepest faller was security group Serco, losing 12 per cent and falling to 547.5p as the Government called in the police to look into alleged fraud activity involving prisoner transfer contracts.

Financials also failed to make progress over the shorter trading week with insurers Legal & General and Prudential each dropped by 6 per cent to 186.8p and 1,078p respectively.

The taxpayer supported Royal Bank of Scotland closed down 3 per cent at 333.7p, was in the headlines this week as the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards put further pressure on the Government to look into splitting the bank in to a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bank.

Overall, it was bad week for the banks. For its part, troubled mutual, the Co-operative Bank reported losses of £709m for the first half of the year, while among its listed peers HSBC and Lloyds were each off 3 per cent at 676p and 72.55p respectively. Barclays lost 1 per cent at 283.35p.

Advertising giant WPP, loosened 2 per cent to 1,195p, despite reporting half-year pre-tax profits of £427.1m, 19 per cent better than the same period last year.

Petrofac was the week’s big riser, firming 9 per cent to 1,385p after the oil services group, urged it was expecting a robust second half of 2013.

Following plenty of speculation, and an 8 per cent share price jump over the week to 206.25p, Vodafone finally announced it is in discussions with Verizon Communications Inc. regarding the possible disposal of its US arm whose principal asset is its 45 per cent interest in Verizon Wireless.

Next week sees updates arrive from broker Hargreaves Lansdown, pub group Greene King and electronics retailer Dixons.

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