FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: London retreats after US tech sell-off

Jitters over technology stocks deepened yesterday as investors ended a challenging week with a fresh flight from risky assets.

The uncertain mood for world markets was compounded when weaker-than-expected figures from JPMorgan Chase dragged banking stocks lower.

Barclays lost 1.5 per cent at 236.05p, Lloyds was down 2 per cent at 72.97p and Royal Bank of Scotland dipped 0.8 per cent to 306p.

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The latest sell-off, which left the FTSE 100 Index 1.2 per cent or 80.27 points lower at 6,561.7, was triggered by the tech-laden Nasdaq index suffering its worst session since 2011 on Thursday night.

Alpari market analyst Craig Erlam said: “There’s a lot of pessimism in the markets right now driven largely by the disappointing data of recent months, the potential for another flare up in the Ukraine and the US Federal Reserve’s decision to continue scaling back its asset purchases.”

Chip designer Arm Holdings, whose technology is found in a range of Apple devices, was one of the biggest fallers in London as its shares slumped 5 per cent or 45.5p to 958.5p.

Outside the top flight, tech fallers included set-top box manufacturer Pace, which fell 7 per cent or 30.9p to 404.7p.

Elsewhere, online grocery delivery firm Ocado fell 14.7p to 377p and multimedia specialist Imagination Technologies slipped 12.4p to 199.7p.

In a quiet session for corporate news, women’s fashion chain Bonmarche impressed investors by announcing that results for the year to March are likely to be slightly ahead of its expectations.

Like-for-like sales increased by 13.5 per cent in the most recent quarter and brought the figure for the year as a whole to 10.4 per cent. Shares were 3.5p higher at 290.5p.