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NatWest drags on FTSE as London stocks finish week with a whimper

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The London markets drifted as a lacklustre update from NatWest disappointed the market after stronger showings from rival banking firms in recent days.

Commodity stocks also had another below-par session as the week’s trading fizzled out.

The FTSE 100 closed 11.9 points, or 0.16%, lower at 7,237.57 on Friday.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “European markets have finished what has been a positive month on the back foot today, with the FTSE 100 slipping back towards the 7,200 level after hitting 20-month highs earlier this week.”

NatWest proved to be a significant drag on London’s top flight, sliding to the bottom of the index despite surpassing analyst forecasts.

“Having seen decent numbers from Lloyds and Barclays in the last week or so, expectations were high for NatWest Group’s Q3 numbers, and while they came in better than forecast, the shares have dropped sharply to the bottom of the FTSE 100,” Mr Hewson said.

“The reaction can partly be explained by the fact that NatWest shares are one of the top 10 performing shares on the FTSE 100 year to date, and in reality the numbers should have been better.”

Shares in NatWest were down 10.3p to 221.1p at the close of play.

Elsewhere in Europe, the other major markets had another mixed session to end a shaky week.

The German Dax decreased by 0.05%, as the French Cac climbed 0.38%.

Across the Atlantic, US stocks opened lower as they were dragged back from record peaks by disappointing figures from Amazon and Apple, which furthered supply chain worries.

Sterling made slight progress against the euro, which was hampered by a bigger-than-expected lift in EU CPI inflation.

The pound was 0.09% lower versus the US dollar at 1.369, and up 0.05% against the euro at 1.185.

In company news, Naked Wines shot higher on Friday after Light Street Capital founder Glen Kacher described the business as the “Netflix of wines” in a glowing statement.

The online wine business soared after the hedge fund boss – who owns almost 10% of the firm – said its shares could quadruple in the next four years.

Traders welcomed the news and shares rose by 86p to 742p.

Elsewhere in retail, Games Workshop had a more disappointing session after brokers at Jefferies cut its price target on the back of freight and foreign exchange rate concerns.

Shares dropped by 805p to 9,645p after the investment bank cut its revenue estimates for 2022 by 2%.

FTSE 250 firm Convatec bounced higher after the medical products supplier revealed its organic revenue growth is on track to hit the upper end of its guidance.

The company was 15.9p higher at 213.8p at the end of the session.

The price of oil spent much of the day lower due to a decline after an end-of-month rebound in the dollar, but recovered enough to end flat, with Brent crude at 84.28 dollars per barrel.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were ITV, up 3.4p at 107.65p, Darktrace, up 23p at 802p, Glencore, up 5.85p at 365.25p, and Barclays, up 2.97p at 202.25p.

The biggest fallers were NatWest, down 10.3p at 221.1p, Smith & Nephew, down 33.5p at 1,255p, Polymetal, down 35p at 1,355p, and SSE, down 38.5p at 1,643.5p.

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