FTSE 100 ends week in red amid interest rate uncertainty

The FTSE 100 index concluded the week on a negative note as market sentiment was dampened by upcoming interest rate decisions from the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.

The index closed down 37.38 points, or 0.5%, at 7,562.36 on Friday, resulting in a weekly decline of 0.6%. Similarly, the FTSE 250 ended the day down 15.89 points, or 0.1%, at 19,091.66, finishing the week 0.3% lower. In contrast, the AIM All-Share managed to close the day up 0.44 of a point or 0.1%, at 793.34, ending the week 0.2% higher.

Among the blue-chip performers, Croda International experienced a significant decline of 16%. The company issued a profit warning, citing challenges associated with customer destocking. This announcement adversely affected investor confidence and resulted in a sharp drop in share price for the chemical manufacturer.

Moving on to the FTSE 250, Network International saw an increase of 5.6%, reaching 383.28 pence. The payments provider, focusing on the Middle East and Africa, announced that it had accepted a takeover offer from entities backed by Brookfield Asset Management, a private equity firm based in Toronto.

Alfa Financial Software experienced a slight decline of 0.5%, closing at 173.69p. The software provider confirmed that it had received multiple unsolicited non-binding takeover proposals from EQT, an investor based in Stockholm. The most recent proposal suggested a cash offer of 208p per share, with an option for shareholders to choose a partial unlisted share alternative offer. This offer represented a 19% premium compared to Alfa Financial Software’s closing price of 174.50p on Thursday.

Shifting focus to the AIM market, Itsarm saw a surge of 77% following the announcement of a winding-up petition to be heard on July 26. Previously known as In The Style Group PLC, Itsarm has been a cash shell since March after selling its only operating subsidiary, In The Style Fashion Ltd, for £1.2 million. The decision for compulsory liquidation came after a vote in favour of voluntary liquidation by 62% of shareholders on May 26, falling short of the majority required for the resolution to pass. Itsarm highlighted that immediate insolvency proceedings were necessary to prevent detriment to the company’s creditors.