FTSE 100 finishes flat as Sky flies while United Utilities slumps

Rebecca Smith
Rupert Murdoch's Sky led the FTSE 100 on Friday
Rupert Murdoch's Sky led the FTSE 100 on Friday (Source: Getty)

The FTSE 100 index dipped slightly to finish off the week down 0.1 per cent to 7,380.68.

It marked a more subdued close after the FTSE had closed up yesterday at 7,386.94 - despite the slump for engineering group GKN, after it announced its chief executive designate was leaving before he'd started.

The day has been a mixed one, with the FTSE 100 dipping early on the day, before reversing earlier falls around midday, while the FTSE 250 was also higher, before ending the day down.

Read more: US media giants circle 21st Century Fox's stake in Sky

Sky led the risers on the FTSE 100, up nearly four per cent, after speculation that Comcast and Verizon were interested in 21st Century’s Fox 39 per cent stake in the broadcaster. David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said the fact two firms were eyeing Fox's assets is a boost for Sky shareholders "as a bidding war may ensue".

Meanwhile, United Utilities dropped by more than four per cent after HSBC cut its rating on the stock to hold, and trimmed its target price.

Madden said European stocks were subdued as "traders can't make their minds up about the future direction".

"The fact that yesterday’s bullish sentiment wasn’t replicated today could be a sign that markets may turn over next week. Buying the dip has been a popular strategy in recent months, but on this occasion there isn’t the same optimism. Traders have been talking about a market top for a long time, and in light of the recent declines we may have seen the highs of the year," he added.

FTSE 100:

Risers Fallers
Sky United Utilities
ConvaTec Mediclinic
Smurfitt Kappa Severn Trent
Kingfisher SSE
GKN Centrica

FTSE All-Share:

Risers Fallers
Lamprell Carillion
Petrofac Dignity
Lonmin Carpetright
Dialight United Utilities
Sky Anglo-Eastern

The other big story of the day came outside the FTSE 100 in the form of Carillion.

Today, the construction firm issued its third profit warning in a matter of months. Josh Mahony, market analyst at IG said the resulting 34 per cent slump in share price reflected "the latest in a series of stories throughout the past year, with the share price falling almost 90 per cent in the past 12 months".

"Despite imposing a raft of measures to cut costs and raise cash, the firm has failed to act within the earnings to net debt ratio agreed with the banks, raising the need for further investment," he added.

Read more: From horror show to too big to fail: City reacts to Carillion meltdown

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