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FTSE drops heavily as Fed-sparked sell-off continues

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After two days of falling the FTSE 100 ended Friday well below the 16-month highs it hit earlier this week, as markets continued to suffer fallout from across the Atlantic.

The top index dipped heavily into the red, closing down 1.9%.

The 135.96 point drop pushed London’s top index down to 7,017.47, its lowest finish since May.

The index had reached its highest point since the Covid-19 crash started in February 2020 earlier in the week, but the decision from the US Federal Reserve to change its timetable on interest rate rises sparked a global sell-off on Thursday and Friday.

“The second half of this week has taken on a distinctly ‘risk off’ feel, as investors seek to reassess a host of assumptions now that the Fed has changed its own working and outlook for the year for monetary policy,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.

“Having seemed so dedicated to the idea of ‘transitory’ inflation and talking markets down that path for so much of 2021 thus far the world’s most powerful central bank appears to have shied away from the implications of such a policy and instead has gone back to the usual playbook of worrying about inflation.”

The FTSE 100’s European cousins were also retreating as the week ended. The German Dax index lost 1.8% while the Cac in Paris closed 1.5% below where it had ended Thursday.

In New York, the S&P 500 had lost 0.9% and the Dow Jones was down 1.1% when markets closed in London.

Sterling remained more or less flat. By the end of the day one pound would buy 1.3814 dollars or 1.1641 euros.

The cost of Brent crude oil rose 0.7% to 73.58 dollars per barrel.

Many of Boohoo’s shareholders registered their unhappiness with co-founder Carol Kane on Friday following a year when its working conditions and minimum wages at its UK suppliers were in the spotlight.

Around 12% of votes were cast against Ms Kane’s re-election to the board at the company’s annual general meeting. Shares in the retailer dipped 1.6%.

Inchcape said that its pre-tax profits are likely to be far ahead of what analysts expected for the full year as business surged. Its shares rose 4.6% following the news.

Tesco shares performed poorly on Friday, dipping 3.8%. It had announced a 0.5% growth in UK supermarket sales in the 13 weeks to May 29. This is 9.3% more than two years ago.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Fresnillo, up 18.2p to 823.4p, Pershing Square, up 20p to 2,590p, Auto Trader, up 2.8p to 631.4p, Sainsbury’s, up 0.8p to 260.1p, and Admiral Group, up 8p to 3,209p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Melrose Industries, down 9.4p to 156.35p, Anglo American, down 145p to 2,717.5p, Mondi, down 91p to 1,844p, Whitbread, down 151p to 3,202p, and Tesco, down 9.4p to 211.75p.

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