FTSE 100 dips ahead of central bank decisions

The FTSE 100 has begun Friday’s session on the back foot as markets gear up for major central bank decisions next week. There are now higher expectations of a pause in monetary policy tightening by the Federal Reserve after yesterday’s weak US job data, while weak inflation in China is expected to prompt some form of stimulus by the People’s Bank of China.

New claims for unemployment insurance in the US rose, the Department of Labor reported. Initial claims for unemployment support in the week ended June 3 totalled 261,000, an increase of 28,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 to 233,000 from 232,000. The data will take some pressure off the Fed to raise interest rates on Wednesday next week.

This morning the FTSE 100 index was down 4.57 points, or 0.1%, at 7,595.17. So far this week, the blue-chip index has lost 0.2%. The FTSE 250 was down 55.95 points, 0.3%, at 19,051.60, and the AIM All-Share was down 2.66 points, or 0.3%, at 790.24.

In share price news, Croda slumped 11% after warning on annual profit, as the chemicals company grapples with customer destocking. Croda provides chemicals for the personal care, fragrances, pharmaceutical and crop care sectors.

Network International shares added 6.0% to 384.60 pence as it agreed to a £2.2 billion takeover from entities backed by private equity firm Brookfield Asset Management.

Amigo shares rose almost four-fold, trading at 1.22p after closing at 0.32p on Thursday. Amigo said it has granted exclusivity to shareholders and financier Michael Fleming, to ‘explore finding and completing a debt investment’ in the firm.

Hopes of a financial reprieve for the credit provider lifted the stock, though Amigo tempered expectations.

Shares in discount chain Shoe Zone jumped 7% or 13.75p to 223.75p after another upgrade to profit forecasts.

Under-pressure Vodafone shares rose 0.9p to 75p, while it was also a stronger start for UK lenders NatWest and Lloyds Banking Group.