Thank god it’s the weekend
The London markets and the pound sterling have stumbled on the back of a series of poor economic data and caution over the potential for tougher travel restrictions across Europe.
The first PMI (Purchasing Managers ‘Index) figures for January were significantly lower than economists’ expectations after the latest foreclosure hit private sector activity.
Meanwhile, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed retail sales in 2020 fell at the fastest rate in 23 years, while government borrowing hit 34.1 billion. pounds sterling last month.
The FTSE 100 closed 20.35 points, or 0.3% lower, at 6,695.07 at the close of play on Friday.
Elsewhere in Europe, sentiment was also weighed down by PMI data showing regional declines, with the French CAC particularly affected by a worse-than-expected performance for its services sector.
The German Dax fell 0.36% and the French Cac fell 0.56%.
Across the Atlantic, markets cooled as the S&P and Nasdaq retreated from Thursday’s highs as traders were content to reduce their exposure to equities after the latest uptrend.
The British pound was particularly weak amid the UK’s bad day for economic data, with a set of below-average PMI numbers triggering a sell-off on Friday morning.
The pound lost 0.38% against the US dollar at 1.368 and lost 0.47% against the euro at 1.123.
In company news, Cineworld saw shares fall again after the latest James Bond film No Time To Die saw its release date pushed back for the third time.
Shares were down 3.28p to 66.1p by the end of the game.
The jobs saw shares rise despite the discount books and the stationery retailer fearing it might breach bank covenants due to the impact of the pandemic.
It closed 2p higher at 35.5p after saying online sales for the past 11 weeks were up 70% from the same period last year.
Kainos Group saw its shares increase from 186p to 1,322p after the IT consultancy said it expects its current fiscal year results to be higher than current market expectations.
The price of oil has fallen following a report that China is heading towards even more localized pandemic restrictions, which could impact demand for oil.
The price of Brent crude fell 0.73% to $ 55.52 per barrel.
The biggest amounts on the FTSE 100 were RELX, up 50p to 1,869.5p, SSE, up 38.5p to 1,547p, Ashtead, up 72p to 3,832p, and Just Eat Takeaway, up from 150p to 8,550p.
The biggest drops on the FTSE 100 were IAG, down 5.35p to 151.6p, Next, down 244p to 7,914p, Melrose Industries, down 5.1p to 175.45p and ABF, in drop from 65p to 2,254p.