FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: Builders lead FTSE lower

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Builder Persimmon was the biggest top flight faller after the UK government moved to limit the impact on house prices from its latest scheme.

As well as news that the Bank of England will take a keen interest in the Help to Buy scheme south of the Border, Persimmon said it was pulling out of house building in Wales due to it being unprofitable. Its shares slipped more than 4 per cent to 1,061p.

In the second tier, Barratt was down 3 per cent at 302.1, Bovis dropped 2.7 per cent to 712p, and Taylor Wimpey was 3.8 per cent lower at 97p.

The wider market was also struggling after Bank of England governor Mark Carney said he was unlikely to back any more quantitative easing (QE). The FTSE 100 Index was down 52.93 points, or 0.8 per cent, at 6,512.66.

David Madden, market analyst at IG, said: “The bank’s stimulus package and ultra-low interest rates have helped the UK economy, but governor Mark Carney now feels it is time to put a cap on the QE programme. This has worried traders, as the next step will be to reduce the stimulus level.”

Mining stocks were among those affected by the mood, with Antofagasta down 23.5p to 830p, Rio Tinto off 73.5p to 3,067p and Vedanta Resources dipping 30p to 1,073p.

But shares in energy firm SSE climbed 8p to 1,468p as investors saw value in the stocks that fell heavily earlier in the week on Labour’s announcement that it would impose a tariff freeze if elected.

Scottish Gas-owner Centrica was also a big climber early in the session but dropped back to finish just 0.1p up at 367p.

Also doing well were engineering firms after Babcock reported that trading conditions continued to look positive. GKN lifted 2.9p at 352.1p, while Babcock itself added 8p at 1,201p.