August 17, 2018 / 9:10 AM / a month ago

Worst week in five months for FTSE as EM goes south

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index failed to rebound convincingly on Friday at the end of a turbulent week for markets during which an economic crisis in Turkey spread anxiety across global financials and mining stocks.

A worker shelters from the rain under a Union Flag umbrella as he passes the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain, October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

The blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE ended the day flat at 7,558.59 points, near a four-month low, and sealed its worst weekly loss in five months with a 1.4 percent decline.

Recent market turmoil over a currency crisis in Turkey and uncertainty over global trade have dented risk appetite and hit stocks in more cyclical sectors.

Investors took some comfort on Friday from the prospect of lower-level trade talks between the U.S. and China later this month. This has spurred hopes that the two major economic powers can resolve an escalating tariff war.

But defensive, high dividend yielding sectors such as consumer staples and healthcare remained the top performers, a sign that investors are buying into the areas of the market considered safer bets in uncertain times.

“Risk appetite looks weak at present, so markets may remain in a small trading range until there are clear catalysts to lift investor confidence,” Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said.

The FTSE 350 mining index .FTNMX1770 sealed its biggest one-week loss in five months as miners globally sold off on fears about global growth and emerging markets slowing.

Financials were the biggest weight on Friday, also driven down by EM concerns. The pan-European banks index .SX7P entered bear territory this week with a fall of more than 20 percent from its peak earlier this year.

Among single stocks, Kaz Minerals (KAZ.L) was the biggest mid-cap faller, sinking 14.6 percent and reversing the previous session’s gains after its half-year results.

Brokers also cut their price targets for Kaz Minerals, seeing further troubles ahead because of the miner’s Aug. 2 acquisition of a copper project in Baimskaya, Russia. [nL5N1V81PH]

Exposure to emerging markets generally across European and UK stocks has been punished this week as the EM index entered bear territory.

Kingfisher (KGF.L), Europe’s second largest home improvement retailer, extended its slide for a second session, down 0.4 percent.

Kingfisher’s shares had dropped on Thursday after the company gave a second-quarter update which included a weak performance at its French business Castorama.

On Friday, several brokers including HSBC and UBS cut their price targets for the stock.

Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Toby Chopra

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