Belfast Telegraph

FTSE 100 lags amid concerns over Britain’s economic prospects

Analysts said the the FTSE 100 managed to stay above the 7,400 point mark by the “skin of its teeth”.

Concern over Britain’s economic prospects weighed on the FTSE 100, which trailed behind European peers as Germany edged closer to forging a government and  was bolstered by business confidence data.

The blue chip index ended the day lower by 0.1% or 7.6 points at 7,409.64 points, while the French Cac 40 and German Dax rose 0.2% and 0.39%, respectively.

Investors were keeping an eye on political developments in Germany, with Social Democrats set to meet Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union about potentially forming a government and reduce uncertainty around another possible election.

Optimism was also higher after a strong reading from Germany’s IFO business confidence survey.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 managed to stay above the 7,400 point mark by the “skin of its teeth”.

Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx said: “Losses in the oil, housebuilding and pharmaceutical sectors appear to be hampering the FTSE, as well as the general feeling that the UK economy is looking pretty damn ropy at the moment.”

Housebuilders were at the bottom of the FTSE 100, with Persimmon down 95p to 2,556p, Barratt Developments down 20.5p at 600.5p and Taylor Wimpey ending the day down 4.7p at 192.2p.

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Brent crude prices edged higher by around 0.2% to 63.51 US dollars per barrel amid reports that Opecand Russia may be willing to co-operate in order to extend an oil production cut.

It comes before an Opec meeting in Vienna on Thursday.

In UK stocks, William Hill shares fell 1.7p to 282.1p after confirming that talks were underway over a possible tie-up between rival CrownBet and its Australian business.

The FTSE 250 group has held “very preliminary discussions” with CrownBet, which is 62% owned by Australian gaming and entertainment group Crown Resorts.

Provident Financial fell 21p to 888p amid news that its 53-year-old chairman Manjit Wolstenholme “passed away suddenly” on Thursday.

Ms Wolstenholme joined the board in 2007, but was elevated to the executive chairman position in August after chief executive Peter Crook quit in the face of heavy losses and a string of profit warnings.

Fuller, Smith and Turner dropped 14p to 951p. The pubs group reported a 10% jump in half-year profits despite facing “unprecedented” cost and economic pressures, but warned that political uncertainties in the UK could still hit the business.

Sports Direct fell 2p to 379.8p. It came as the  scandal-hit retailer called a general meeting that will allow shareholders to vote over whether the brother of chief executive Mike Ashley should be handed an £11 million back payment by the firm.

A joint investigation by the firm’s legal advisers RPC and independent accountants Smith & Williamson claims he was not given the extra money because of concerns over public relations.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Paddy Power Betfair up 275p at 8,810p, TUI AG up 24p at 1,356p, 3i Group up 15.5p at 929.5p and Experian up 26p at 1,578p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Persimmon down 95p to 2,556p, Barratt Developments down 20.5p at 600.5p, Babcock International Group down 16.5p to 666p, and Taylor Wimpey down 4.7p at 192.2p.

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