THE FTSE 100 fell to its lowest close for a year as fears over Europe’s sluggish economy trumped hints by the Federal Reserve that interest rates would remain low.
Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “The dovish call from the Fed may have given equities something of a shot in the arm in the morning, but it’s been an incredibly short-lived boost.”
Despite opening around 50 points higher, the FTSE 100 was in full blown retreat by the close, down 50.39 points at 6,431.85 as figures from Germany suggested Europe’s biggest economy may fall into recession.
However, the Fed’s assurances on rates meant that miners benefited from a boost to metal prices. The top flight risers’ board was led by Fresnillo, which jumped more than 6 per cent or 46.5p to 770p, while Randgold Resources climbed 248p to finish at 4,298p.
Royal Mail was 1 per cent higher after its announcement that it has reached a settlement with the French competition authority following an investigation into breaches of antitrust laws by subsidiary GLS France.
The company has made a provision of £18 million, much less than previous estimates by City analysts. Shares rose 4p to 401.9p.
Among stocks pulling the index lower, Vodafone lost 3 per cent or 7p to 197.4p after analysts at Nomura cut their rating to” reduce” and warned that competition was set to remain intense over the next year.
The Ebola outbreak continued to have an impact on confidence in travel stocks as the UK government said it was prepared to test travellers entering the UK for the disease.
British Airways owner IAG added to losses earlier this week with a fall of 10.3p to 333p, while EasyJet was down 37p at 1,341p and TUI Travel dropped 10.1p to 356.9p.