Friday market close: Week ends on a low note

The FTSE ended the week on a downbeat note
The FTSE ended the week on a downbeat note
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The London stock market closed the week sharply down after US jobs figures left traders anxious about the lingering possibility of an interest rate rise by the Federal Reserve later this month.

Official data showed the US added 173,000 jobs in August. This was fewer than expected but not a weak enough figure to convince investors that a rate hike was out of the question given the turbulence in China.

The FTSE 100 index fell 151.18 points to 6,042.92, a drop of 2.4 per cent that completely wiped out the gain of more than 110 points in the previous session.

Retailers were among those on the slide as UK survey figures suggested the high street saw its worst month in August since the financial crash. Meanwhile, London tapped into the renewed anxiety that sent Asian indices lower overnight. There was also gloom from Germany, which reported a larger than expected fall in factory orders.

Wall Street was also sharply lower by the time of the London close. The Footsie shed more than 200 points over the week, building on a dire August that was the worst month for the top flight in more than three years.

In currency markets, sterling has been under pressure against the US dollar in recent days on fears that UK growth is slowing.

Among individual equities, fashion retailer Next was a big faller after a broker downgrade from Exane BNP Paribas ahead of its half-year results next week. Shares fell nearly 3 per cent, or 245p, to 7,595p.

Shares in Primark owner Associated British Foods slipped 58p to 3,139p, while Dixons Carphone was 18.6p lower at 412.3p.

Elsewhere, online gaming firm 888 Holdings edged higher as it was elbowed out of its takeover of FoxyBingo owner after being trumped by a £1.1 billion proposal from Sportingbet owner GVC. Shares rose 0.5p to 162.5p while Bwin fell by 5.2p, or 4.5 per cent, to 110p.