FTSE 100 clocks worst week in a year as bank rout fears linger
By Shashwat Chauhan and Shristi Achar A
(Reuters) - London shares fell on Friday, reversing gains made earlier in the day, dragged by financial stocks as fears of banking crisis resurfaced, while shares of telecom firm BT Group slid on delayed pricing decision.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 ended 1% lower, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 lost 1.5%.
British banks fell 2.6%, with major lenders including Barclays, HSBC holdings and Standard Chartered down between 1.9% and 2.8%.
Banking crisis fears persisted even after major U.S. banks on Thursday offered a $30 billion lifeline for beleaguered First Republic Bank, while Credit Suisse also received an emergency liquidity line from the Swiss central bank.
"The market has been flip-flopping over these bank stories about whether there can be risk of contagion from SVB or Credit Suisse," said Giles Coghlan, chief market analyst at HYCM.
"They (markets) are still concerned that there's going to be further defaults from some other unknown source."
The internationally-focussed FTSE 100 posted its worst weekly performance of down 5.3% in a year as fears of a global banking crisis rattled markets, following the collapse of two U.S. lenders, with troubles at Swiss lender Credit Suisse only compounding concerns.
The only bright sport on the index were precious metal miners, up 1.8% tracking the raise in gold prices, with the yellow-metal being a safe-haven investment.
Investor focus now shifts to interest rate decisions from the Bank of England (BoE) and Federal Reserve next week, in light of the European Central Bank raising its interest rate by a hefty 50-basis points on Thursday.
Money markets see a 56% chance that the BoE will leave its interest rates unchanged, while the rest see the probability of a 25-basis-point hike.
Among single stocks, Bodycote jumped 5.8% after the thermal processing service provider reported higher full-year revenue.
British telecom firm BT Group lost 6.1% after the UK's telecoms regulator Ofcom said it would need more time to consider BT's wholesale pricing.
(Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan and Shristi Achar A in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza, Shailesh Kuber and Nick Zieminski)