Stocks were set for a lower open tracking losses on Wall Street and as bracers positioned themselves ahead of the US central bank's policy meeting during the following week.
Bitcoin suffered sharp falls of around 7%, amid a wave of selling in the cryptocurrency market that has led the most traded of the digital currencies to mark five-and-a-half-month lows and, more importantly, reach the important support of $40,000. The digital asset, that closed Thursday at this price level, following Wall Street's declines because of Netflix, has continued to drain positions to $38,500. Meanwhile, almost $150 billion has evaporated from the market, whose capitalization is $1.
London stocks were getting walloped at the open as investors' jitters around the prospects for policy tightening by the US central bank continued and after the Office of National Statistics reported that UK retail sales cratered at the end of 2021.
European stocks slumped at the start of the final session of the week in line with sell-offs in the US and Asia overnight triggered by rate rise fears and poor corporate results.
Advertising and marketing group M&C Saatchi said on Friday that as a result of "a strong end to the year", it now believes full-year 2021 headline pre-tax profits will be "materially ahead" of previous expectations.
Gambling technology company Playtech reiterated support for a £2. 7bn bid from Aristocrat Leisure after former Formula One boss Eddie Jordan pulled his offer overnight, but warned that new investors with major stakes have not “engaged meaningfully” on the original approach.
UK retail sales fell a worse-than-expected 3. 7% in December from November as people completed their Christmas shopping earlier and the Omicron Covid variant deterred consumers, according to official data released on Friday.
Private equity firm HgCapital said on Friday that it will make an additional investment into healthcare data interoperability firm Lyniate.
Merchant banking group Close Brothers said on Friday that it had performed well in the five months ended 31 December, with good loan book growth at strong margins in its banking unit and continued growth momentum in its asset management division despite a moderation in trading income in its Winterflood arm since the end of the 2021 financial year.
London open The FTSE 100 is expected to start the day about 80 points lower at 7,505.
Promotional products business 4imprint Group said on Friday that full-year unaudited group revenues had shot up in 2021, pushing pre-tax profits towards the upper end of analysts' forecasts.
Investment company Ninety One on Friday said assets under management at December 31 had risen to £141. 7bn compared with £128. 6bn a year earlier.
In times of market dislocation, it rises sharply to reflect the difficulties in transporting goods — and during the pandemic it has done little else but rise, peaking at more than 5,700. [. ] That peak in the Baltic Dry Index was hit on October 7. Since then, the index has fallen sharply, halving within a month. Though it jumped in the run-up to Christmas, it has dropped back again since. Yesterday it fell further, its tenth consecutive daily decline, to 1,570.
Wall Street stocks closed lower on Thursday after this week's jobless claims figures came in hotter than expected.