FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: Market beats a retreat over Ukraine

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A LATE slump sent the FTSE 100 down more than 1 per cent as traders adopted a cautious approach ahead of a tense weekend in world politics.

The index had briefly found itself in positive territory on the back of better-than-expected US jobs numbers but a bout of selling saw it close 75.82 points lower at 6,712.67.

Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “Non-farm payrolls euphoria wore off quickly this afternoon in London, as gains made in the wake of the US employment number were quickly given back.

“It appears that no one wants to be particularly long heading into the weekend, with the risk of another development in the Ukraine crisis still an eminent possibility.”

Stocks with exposure to China were earlier by the country’s decision to allow its first corporate bond default. Miner Anglo American was the biggest faller, off 6 per cent or 102.5p at 1,462.5p, while Antofagasta was down 38p at 877p.

Insurance giant Aviva continued to attract buying interest despite the stock surging to its highest level in five years following results on Thursday.

The backing for chief executive Mark Wilson’s turnaround plan kept Aviva near the top of the blue chip risers’ board, up 4.5p to 508.5p alongside rival Legal & General which added 3.6p to 237.2p.

Royal Mail was 2p lower at 587p, having lost initial gains seen after JP Morgan Cazenove raised its target price from 700p to 765p. The review was based on a new assessment of the delivery firm’s pension liabilities.

And outsourcing firm G4S lifted 8.4p to 243.9p on hopes that it will be able to draw a line under a dire past two years when it reports annual figures next week following a string of damaging blunders.