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FTSE gives back earlier gains to end bruising week

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It looked like investors might have something to cheer on Friday after a bloodbath a day earlier, but in the early afternoon the FTSE 100’s fortunes reversed.

The index even briefly dropped below the 7,000 mark for the first time since early March.

The 28.73 point fall left the FTSE at 7,016.25, a reduction of 0.4%.

Earlier in the day the index had been trading up by more than 1%, hitting a high of 7,130 points, giving investors hope.

It came a day after the index had given back more than 3% of its value in the worst performance since early March, a day when a nuclear power plant in Ukraine was on fire.

“After the big losses of yesterday, as well as this week, European markets have tried to muster a semblance of a rebound as we head into the weekend, but are struggling to gain any sort of foothold, with a slide in commodity prices weighing on the FTSE 100, with copper prices sliding to their lowest levels this year, and oil prices on course for their first negative week since early May,” said Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets.

By the end of the day the Dax in Germany, which also suffered on Thursday, closed up 0.6%, the Paris-based Cac 40 was up by less than 0.1%.

On Wall Street a little while after markets in Europe closed the S&P 500 was trading up 0.1% while the Dow Jones was down 0.2%.

On currency markets the pound rose 0.1% to 1.2194 dollars and 0.04% to 1.1653 euros.

In company news, Glencore pulled away from many of its natural resources peers which were languishing towards the bottom of the FTSE.

It dropped just 0.6%, compared with  much bigger falls for Rio Tinto and Anglo American after saying its trading division is expected to make record profits in the first half of the year.

It expects to make more than 3.2 billion dollars in the first half – at the top end of what it aims to make in a whole year.

“The rest of the basic resource sector is under pressure on the weakness in copper prices, with Rio Tinto and Antofagasta under pressure, while the slide in crude oil prices is weighing on BP and Shell,” Mr Hewson said.

Tesco reported early signs that customers are changing their shopping habits due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Boss Ken Murphy said that households were facing “unprecedented increases” and more people are now turning to the supermarket’s own-brand products.

It kept guidance for full-year profits unchanged, despite a 1.5% drop in like-for-like sales, which was significantly more than expected.

Tesco shares rose by 0.8%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Sage, up 33.2p to 628.8p, Ocado, up 43.6p to 831p, Intermediate Capital Group, up 53.5p to 1,409.5p, Auto Trader, up 17.5p to 517p, and JD Sports, up 3.55p to 106.45p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were BP, down 25.0p to 379.45p, Rio Tinto, down 267.0p to 5,177p, Shell, down 100.0p to 2,044p, Harbour Energy, down 16.7p to 347p, and Antofagasta, down 51.5p to 1,274p.

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