UK Markets closed

FTSE 100 slumps into red as US-China trade tensions weigh on stocks

By PA City Staff

The FTSE 100 closed out Friday’s trading session firmly in the red after stuttering US trade talks with China and a dearth of economic news weighed on the index.

London’s top flight closed 69.9 points lower at 7,346.53 at the end of trading on Friday.

The strengthening value of the pound also pressed down on the international-focused index, as mining, energy and financial stocks were particularly impacted.

David Madden, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “The US-China trade story continues to dominate the headlines as the latest twist in the story is the Hong Kong bill – where the US government essentially backs the citizens of Hong Kong.

“Beijing don’t want to see the Trump administration stick their nose in domestic matters, so dealers are worried it might derail the trade talks.

“Apprehension about what will be China’s next move is stopping traders from buying into the market.”

Elsewhere in Europe, the main markets were broadly flat at the close of play, with both the German and French top flights making up ground after significant early decline.

The German Dax decreased by just 0.01% while the French Cac edged 0.07% lower.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones moved lower on a fairly subdued session as traders were broadly pessimistic due to trade concerns.

Meanwhile, sterling nudged higher at the end of a week which has seen the value of the pound steadily recover from last Friday’s PMI shock, as early polling was welcomed by traders.

The value of the pound increased 0.21% versus the US dollar at 1.293 and rose 0.14% against the euro at 1.174.

In company news, a number of banks closed lower after HSBC and Santander were forced to pay back overdraft fees to thousands of customers.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said HSBC had failed to text 115,000 customers when they went into an unarranged overdraft and would have to refund them £8 million. Shares in HSBC closed 4.5p lower at 576.3p at the close of trading.

Ocado shares surged after it announced a new deal with one of Japan’s biggest retailers (Ocado/PA)

Online grocer Ocado jumped sharply after it announced it has signed a multimillion-pound deal to provide its online shopping platform to one of Japan’s largest retailers.

Finance director Duncan Tatton-Brown said management was looking for 400 people to work at its development centres as a result. Ocado shares rose by 117p to 1,325p.

Elsewhere, shares in Daily Mirror publisher Reach closed higher after it said it is no longer in talks to buy some titles from JPI Media, which owns the i newspaper and The Yorkshire Post. Reach shares closed up 12.5p to 96p on Friday.

Vehicle rental firm Northgate saw shares slide after it announced plans to merge with accident claims handler Redde in a £394 million deal. Northgate finished the trading session 34p lower at 316p.

The price of oil plunged lower as energy traders have become increasingly concerned over the relationship between the US and China.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil slid by 3.67% to 60.96 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, up 117p at 1,325p, Fresnillo, up 6.6p at 577.6p, Compass, up 12p at 1,894.5p, and Evraz, up 1.2p at 370.4p.

The biggest fallers on the index were Tesco, down 8p at 229.4p, Sainsbury, down 6.6p at 214.3p, St James’s Place, down 30.5p at 1,088.5p, and Kingfisher, down 5.8p at 209.9p.