The FTSE 100 has retreated further from 6 -week highs made earlier this week as tensions in the Gulf of Oman and poor Chinese data hits UK stocks.
The FTSE 100 was down as much as 0.57% in early trade on Friday to 7327 as investors pondered the consequences of explosion on a number of oil tankers in recent weeks and whether it could lead to military confrontation between Iran and the United States.
Iran has strenuously denied suggestions from the United States that they were involved in the explosions and have said they felt were being framed. There has so far been no solid evidence as to the parties involved in the explosions or the cause.
Sentiment was further soured by a raft of Chinese data that suggested the US/Sino trade war was having a negative impact on the world’s second largest economy.
“The Chinese data overnight was not good, the country clearly feeling the trade war pinch. Fixed asset investment fell from 6.1% to 5.6%, its worst level in 7 months, while industrial production dropped to 5.0% for the first time in 17 years. Only the retail sales reading avoided a precipitous decline, instead unexpectedly jumping from 7.2% to 8.6%,” said Connor Campbell, Financial Analyst at Spreadex.
Chinese GDP growth has fallen to 6.4% and the measures imposed by the Trump administration are being blamed on slowdown which could have far reaching implications for the global economy and the globally focussed FTSE 100.
In individual stock news, Autotrader fell 2.6% as it broke key technical levels following a strong 2019 which has seen shares rally from 429p to highs of 605p. The group recently report final results which revealed an 8% increase in revenue to £355.1 million. Profit before tax rose 15% in a strong year that has seen Autotrader enter the FTSE 100 index.
The top riser was precious metals miner Fresnillo whose perceived safe haven characteristics has won favour of traders seeking an outlet in the face of geo-political tensions.