FTSE set for biggest weekly fall this year as emerging market rout weighs

By Alistair Smout

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s top share index edged lower on Friday, steadying after sharp falls in the previous session but pinned back by falls in emerging market exposed stocks.

Aberdeen Asset Management dropped 5.6 percent, the FTSE 100’s top faller, suffering from its heavy exposure to emerging markets after Argentina’s central bank gave up its battle against the currency’s decline, with the Mexican peso and Asia also suffering.

The FTSE 100 was down 12.67 points, or 0.2 percent, at 6,760.61 by 0858 GMT, building on Thursday’s sharp falls, when emerging market turmoil and disappointing data from the United States and China saw Britain’s main equity index suffer its biggest one-day fall this year.

“We’ve got a very light macro calendar, which can be a good thing. But it does leave the market exposed to the worries that arose yesterday from emerging markets and their currencies, as well as Chinese and U.S. data, which stick a spanner in the works with regards to global growth optimism,” Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said.

Brewer SABMiller, which has a large exposure to Latin America, fell 2.1 percent.

It was also a quiet day on the earnings front, with Royal Mail trading flat after an in-line trading update. Publisher Pearson dropped 1.8 percent, extending the previous session’s falls after banks cut their target price on the stock following Thursday’s profit warning.

“Although we had weakness on the FTSE yesterday, it is tempting to say that it is still an orderly decline… but with corporate earnings coming out as disappointing, it’s going to be hard for equities to make significant progress over the next few weeks,” Jeremy Batstone-Carr, analyst at Charles Stanley, said.

The fall took the index towards the 6,760 level that has served as support for the index over the last ten days, having been a resistance level for the first two weeks of the year.

That the FTSE 100 was staying above this level was seen as broadly positive for the market but, having tested a May 2013 high this week and failed to break through it, analysts thought prospects for the market looked poor unless it could regain some of the ground lost so far this week.

The FTSE 100 is down 0.9 percent this week, set for its steepest loss of the year.

“It’s good that we’ve received support at 6,760, but I’d like to see a test of 6,800 to show real appetite to rebound,” Accendo’s van Dulken said.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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