FTSE 100 Friday Close: Fed boosts sentiment but UK market finishes flat on week

15th November 2013

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Stocks enjoyed a late-week fillip following comments from Federal Reserve vice chair Janet Yellen, after she hinted that its extraordinary monetary policy could roll on for longer than expected writes Philip Scott.

Yellen, set to be the US central bank’s next chairman lifted investor sentiment after she said the Fed has ‘more work to do’ to help the US economy, which helped calm investor anxiety over the reduction of QE. In the US, the Dow Jones soared after the remarks.

On Friday in London however the benchmark FTSE 100 closed the week at 6,693.44, up just 27.31 points on the day, and flat over the week.

Insurer RSA, down 13% to 104.5p is the week’s biggest faller on the leaderboard after rating’s agency Standard & Poor’s cut the financial strength and issuer credit ratings from A+ to A.

The firm has also suspended its Ireland CEO Philip Smith, as an investigation into its business there takes place.

BSkyB stock tumbled 12% to 819.5p on the back of the news that rival BT Sport scooped up exclusive rights to show Champions League and Europa League football matches.

Miner Vedanta Resources slid 8% to 955.5% after its six-month results showed that its revenues fell 17% to $6.2bn. Also worse off over the week were William Hill down by 5% at 367.5p and Morrison Supermarkets off 4% at 267.3p.

Cement giant CRH was the week’s best FTSE 100 performer, after rising 4% to 1,591p following a market update reporting like-for-like sales growth of 2% for the third quarter.

Primark owner Associated British Foods boasted of a “remarkable” year for the discount fashion chain, sending its stock 3% up over the week to close at 2,334p while an increase in half year profits and sales at Sainsbury drove the retailers shares 4% up over the week to 409p. An upbeat note from analysts at Credit Suisse on Croda pushed the chemical firms shares 4% higher to 2,364p.

Within the UK banking sector this week HSBC laid down the gauntlet, pledging to be the cheapest mortgage lender on the High Street with the launch of two fixed rate mortgages. The lender’s shares are however 1% off at 687p. Royal Bank of Scotland, up 2% at 330p, learnt that it faces potential further fines over sub-prime mortgage crisis while Barclays off 2% at 249.45p plans to cut some 1,700 staff from its retail banking operation. Former regulator Hector Sants also resigned from the bank, only a month after taking leave for stress. Elsewhere Lloyds was flat at 75.38p and Standard Chartered closed the week 2% looser at 1,456p.

Next week sees updates arrive from broadcaster ITV and Smiths Group.

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