Shares dip as worries mount in eastern Europe

·3 min read

A bruising session on Friday meant that the FTSE 100 closed the week lower than it started for the first time in a month, while its European cousins saw sharp dips.

Evraz and Fresnillo and other big miners were among London’s worst losers, while gambling companies also fared poorly.

“It’s been a disappointing end to the week for European markets, with the FTSE 100 posting its first weekly decline since mid-December, while the Dax has fallen sharply, sliding to a one month low, with all sectors firmly in the red,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

“Sentiment hasn’t been helped by rising concern that the situation on the Ukraine, Russia border may be deteriorating further after the US announced that it was considering evacuating diplomat family members from Ukraine, with the Dax seeing the biggest losses.

“As far as the FTSE 100 is concerned there have been pockets of green, with defensives outperforming, as investors reach for the tobacco stocks to calm their nerves, while GlaxoSmithKline has also edged higher.

“The biggest losers have been basic resources, energy and financials, all of the big winners of the last few weeks, with banks feeling the effects of the sharp slide in yields, while today’s weakness in oil prices is weighing on BP and Royal Dutch Shell.”

The FTSE closed down 1.2%, a 90.88 point drop, ending at 7,494.13.

In Frankfurt the Dax closed down 1.9%, while Paris’s Cac 40 dropped 1.8%.

In New York markets avoided the worst of the falls.

The S&P 500 was trading down 0.5% and the Dow Jones was down 0.2% shortly after European markets closed.

Starling rose 0.1% and by the end of the day one pound could buy 1.3561 dollars or 1.1953 euros.

In company news, shares in Playtech dipped 13.6% after one of its suitors pulled out of a multi-billion pound race to take over the gambling software company.

Eddie Jordan, a former Formula One team boss, cancelled his bid, reportedly because he was worried about whether some investors might block it.

Playtech’s board had already agreed to be taken over by Australia’s Aristocrat Leisure for 3.7 billion US dollars (£2.7 billion) in October.

It still recommends that shareholders vote for this deal.

Shares in The Works, the hobby retailer, rose 15% after the business reported a healthy set of Christmas results.

It had previously said it was concerned about cost increases and shipping delays, so shareholders were pleasantly surprised when it posted a 9% sales jump in the 11 weeks to the middle of January compared to two years previously.

Most of the growth came from the company’s online sales.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were British American Tobacco, up 24.5p to 3,138p, Burberry, up 15p to 1,925.5p, GlaxoSmithKline, up 10.6p to 1,647.2p, Unilever, up 19.5p to 3,675p, and Tesco, up 1.45p to 336.6p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Entain, down 89p to 1,635p, United Utilities, down 24p to 540.6p, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, down 45p to 1,109.5p, Pershing Square, down 105p to 2,770p, and Fresnillo, down 31p to 830.4p.

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