FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: Deflation prospects add to FTSE falls

The FTSE 100 Index rounded off its worst January performance for four years with another session in the red after eurozone deflation fears added to ongoing emerging market woes.

At the close it was down 28.01 points at 6,510.44, meaning the index is 238.6 points lower so far in 2014.

It had looked on course to be even worse with the Footsie off by more than 100 points during the day before staging a late rally of sorts, after the rate of eurozone inflation unexpectedly dropped to 0.7 per cent in January, stoking talk of deflation.

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Aberdeen Asset Management fixed income investment analyst Luke Bartholomew said: “It’s now more likely than ever that [European Central Bank chief Mario] Draghi is going to have to step in with some extraordinary measure to stave off deflation.”

BT bucked the trend after it saw a return to quarterly revenue growth for the first time in four and a half years thanks to another surge in broadband take-up. The group led a shortened risers’ board as it claimed a victory in its battle with BSkyB by posting a better-than-expected 8 per cent rise in third-quarter profits, sending shares up 3 per cent or 12.4p to 383.3p.

BSkyB slipped back a little after its gains in the previous session, ending the day 2p off at 876p.

Banks were among those suffering in the market sell-off, with Royal Bank of Scotland down 7.4p to 340p.

Drinks giant Diageo fell further after Thursday’s warning over emerging markets, down 19.5p to 1,800.5p, adding to the 5 per cent decline in that day’s session.

Fast food delivery firm Domino’s Pizza rose in the FTSE 250 after it named senior non-executive director David Wild as interim chief executive while it searches for a permanent replacement for outgoing Lance Batchelor. Shares lifted 14.5p to 528.5p.