Friday market close: Shares fall ahead of Fed decision

The US Federal Reserve decides on rates next week
The US Federal Reserve decides on rates next week
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With industrial output data due for release in China over the weekend, and the US Federal Reserve set to decide on interest rates next week, the London market fell away for the second session in a row.

Although the top-flight FTSE 100 Index closed down 38.05 points at 6,117.76 – having slid 73 points on Thursday – it still managed to round off the week well ahead of its closing level last Friday of 6,042.9.

Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “With China data due out over the weekend and the Federal Reserve set to meet to begin discussing the prospect of an interest rise next Wednesday, not even the bolshie barrow boys in the boiler rooms of London could sell these markets as attractive to your granny.”

There were further signs of economic gloom as figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the construction sector shrank year-on-year by 0.7 per cent in July – the first such fall since May 2013.

Housebuilder Barratt dipped 5p to 654p following the surprise contraction, while rival Persimmon closed down 13p at 2,111p, but Kier, which posts its annual results next week, finished 10p higher at 1,512p.

In corporate news, pubs giant JD Wetherspoon suffered a 25 per cent fall in annual pre-tax profits to £58.7 million, hit by an £11.2m write-down on the value of underperforming pubs.

Although like-for-like sales rose 3.3 per cent and the group said it expected trading for the current year to be at or slightly above that of last time, shares fell 4p to 716p by closing time.

Elsewhere, the collapse of a merger involving the Danish operations of telecoms groups TeliaSonera and Telenor saw mobile operator Vodafone fall 3.15p to 223.95p, while BT finished the session down 9.45p or 2.2 per cent at 422.65p.