FTSE slips as US Fed hint at end of QE

London's FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) edged lower on Friday as investor caution returned after the US Federal Reserve hinted it would end its quantitative easing programme ahead of time

The FTSE 100 was down 0.1pc, falling 8.3 points to 6039.04, having closed 0.3pc higher on Thursday hitting a 17-month high after a 2.2pc surge on Tuesday following the news that the US had reached a deal to stop the world's largest economy falling over the fiscal cliff.

Other European markets also fell in early trading, with the DAX (Xetra: ^GDAXI - news) in Frankfurt and the IBEX in Madrid down 0.1pc, while the CAC in Paris was down 0.2pc.

The Fed released the minutes from its December meeting after markets closed on Thursday which showed that some members of the Federal Open Market Committee - which sets bank rates and the size of the asset-purchasing programme - were increasingly worried about the potential risks of the Fed's money-printing programme, even though it looks set to continue an open-ended stimulus programme for now.

The Fed said last month it would keep interest rates near zero until unemployment -- expected to have stayed steady at 7.7pc in December -- fell at least to 6.5pc, as long as inflation does not rise above 2.5pc.

Job figures are due out in the US later today, and the non-farm payroll figures are expected to rise to 150,000 in December, after a 146,000 increase in the previous month, with the unemployment rate seen unchanged month-on-month at 7.7pc.