London's FTSE 100 fell on Friday as Asia-focused banks took a hit from underwhelming Chinese industrial growth data, while Kier tumbled after a report it was planning to sell its housebuilding unit for a lower-than-expected price. The FTSE 100 shed 0.4% by 0754 GMT as exporter stocks also weighed. The FTSE 250 fell 0.1%, tugged lower by Kier's 14% plunge.
Banks with exposure to Asia, pressured this week amid protests in Hong Kong against a Chinese extradition bill, slipped after China's industrial output growth slowed to a more than 17-year low. HSBC and Prudential were among the biggest drags on the blue-chip index, as the data once again underlined the knock-on effects of China's protracted trade dispute with the United States.
Builder Kier, whose shares lost over a third in value last week following a profit warning, sank after The Times reported http://bit.ly/2XHb7Ap that the company was preparing to offload its housebuilding business. "At face value, the amount quoted of 100-150 million pounds would be disappointing for the whole business and compares to management's own assessment... at FY 2018 of 291 million pounds," Liberum analysts wrote.
The dollar was subdued ahead of a key U.S. Federal Reserve meeting next week where investors are betting on an interest rate cut amid sustained concerns over global growth. Companies that book a major chunk of earnings in the greenback, such as BAT and Diageo, gave up 1%each.
Gold and other precious metals were in demand as a result. Miner Fresnillo added 2%. Oil majors Shell and BP were the bright spots on the main index, as crude prices rose for a second day after attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman stoked worries about crude flows through a key international shipping route.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)