Interest rate concerns wear down the LSE
UK SHARES struggled to a modestly higher finish on Friday after another disappointing week as interest rate worries continued to put downward pressure on the London stock market.
Business was patchy as investors, alarmed earlier in the week by the Bank of England's warnings about inflation and interest rates, fretted over Friday's Confederation of British Industry report showing the strongest growth in sales for eight years.
The FTSE 100, which hit an eight-week low yesterday, closed 10,4 points higher at 3 910,8, helped by a rebound in FTSE futures and gilts after Thursday's weakness.
Leading shares lost 37,7 points over the week as rate worries persisted, despite another surge on Wall Street.
Traders said the market was calm and on a more solid, if uninspiring, footing on Friday but volumes remained moderate.
A weak performance in New York as profit-taking hit stocks dogged UK shares back from the day's highs in afternoon trade.
Caution ahead of next week's US Federal Open Market Committee meeting and the British Budget on November 26 again kept business in London modest while worries that continuing sterling strength was increasing pressure on earnings forecasts also acted as a brake on the market.
"Forecasts for 1997 are to a significant degree predicated on renewed export growth to continental Europe. The message loudly and clearly from there is don't hold your breath. Demand is on its back," said SocGen strategist Andy Hartwill. - Reuter