FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: Uncertainty in US weighs on London

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London’s top-flight index ended the day in negative territory after giving up early gains to end an anxious week below the 7,000 level.

A week on from the unexpected Conservative election victory, the FTSE 100 dipped 12.55 points to close at 6,960.49, with doubts over the US economy weighing on traders’ minds this side of the Atlantic.

Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “The proverbial banana in the tail pipe appeared to be weak data out in the US. In particular a surprise dip in consumer sentiment seemed to be the most concerning issue, which underscored worries over the sustainability of the recent recovery.”

Commodity stocks were the biggest blue-chip fallers, with Glencore down 5.4p, or 1.8 per cent, at 293.3p and Anglo American declining by a similar proportion to finish 20p lower at 1,090.5p.

ITV was one of the session’s big gainers as shares put back losses seen after a positive trading update in the previous session had the shine taken off it by strike action that hit the broadcaster. Positive broker comments helped the recovery, and the group ended the day 4.7p higher at 262p.

Shares in SABMiller edged up 23.5p to 3,623.5p after the brewing giant announced a deal to buy craft beer maker Meantime for an undisclosed sum. The owner of brands including Grolsch and Peroni said the acquisition gave it an entry into the fastest-growing segment of the UK beer market.

Also in focus was BT, which received an order from the telecoms industry regulator to open up its high-speed network to direct access by rivals in order to promote competition in the £2 billion “leased line” data market for businesses. The intervention by Ofcom saw shares in the firm dip 2p to 463p.

The FTSE 100’s biggest riser was cruise ship firm Carnival, up 70p or 2.3 per cent at 3,147p.