FTSE 100 Friday close: Blue-chips continue to stutter

29th November 2013


The FTSE 100 finished the week where it started as concerns persist over the US reducing its stimulus package and less than compelling retail numbers from Germany further dampened the mood.

Data emerged showing that German retail sales had a surprise drop last month, showing that the country’s high streets still have more work to do in the run up to Christmas.

The UK’s blue-chip index closed on Friday at 6,650.57, 3.9 points down on the day and flat over the week.

House builder Persimmon was the week’s steepest faller, shedding 5% to 1,160p after the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney poured cold water over the heated housing market by declaring that the so-called Funding for Lending scheme would now focus on small businesses in a bid to stave off another property bubble. The FTSE 250 listed UK builder Taylor Wimpey was also down, falling 2% to 106.4p.

Notably a report from Nationwide showed that house prices rose at their fastest rate in more than three years in November with an annual jump of 6.5%.

Water firm Severn Trent dropped 3% over the week to 1,766p to after it announced that its underlying pre-tax profits slipped 5.8% to £141.3 in the half-year to the end of October.

Fellow utility SSE also saw its shares drop 3% over the week to 1,327p while B&Q owner Kingfisher, fell 2% to 375.9p after it reported third quarter profits which fell short of City expectations. Profits hit £271m, up 1.7% on the same period in 2012 but according to reports analysts were expecting results in the region of £280m.

Also off over the week were Royal Dutch Shell ‘A’ shares, which loosened by 3% to 2,048p while competitor BP finished 2% down at 482p.

Sports Direct International was the week’s main climber on the leader-board, firming 7% to 738.5p while Petrofac lifted 6% to 1,266p.

Contract catering giant Compass, up 1% at 921p, unveiled its fourth quarter results this week. Investors were cheered by news that the firm’s year-on-year revenue rose 4.3%, earnings per share were up 12.5% and the dividend was increased by 12.7%.

Wolseley, the world’s largest trade distributor of plumbing and heating products, in its first quarter results showed its US and UK operations were continuing to improve as revenue continues to rise in the regions. Its shares rose by 2% over the week to close at 3,297p.

Also up were broadcaster ITV, closing 4% better at 190p while Burberry rose 3% to 1,527p.

Barclays was the best performer among the UK’s banks, rising 6% to 271.7p. The group has reportedly been ordered by US authorities to pay $2.2m in compensation to a former trader who was sacked from the company in connection with the Libor rigging scandal.

Elsewhere Royal Bank of Scotland, accused of alleged heavy handed dealings with small businesses, lost 1% to 327.2p while Lloyds reportedly gearing up to appoint Scottish Widows chief Lord Blackwell as the bank’s new chairman, firmed 4% to 77.4p. HSBC loosened 1% to close at 681.9p while Asian-focused competitor Standard Chartered finished the week flat at 1,448.5p.

Next week sees updates arrive from Tesco, Standard Chartered and Mulberry.

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