FTSE Close: Tech rally losses steam, damps investor sentiment

The FTSE 100 closed lower on Tuesday as Wall Street’s tech stocks lost steam, making investors nervous before the release of US inflation numbers this week.

The UK blue-chip index fell 0.1%, to 7,683.96. The mid-cap FTSE 250 index declined 0.5%, to 19,294.02. The AIM All-Share managed a slight gain of 0.3% to finish at 752.66.

Sportswear retailers were among the heaviest weights on the FTSE 100. Both JD Sports and Frasers Group dropped nearly 2%, while Primark-owner Associated British Foods lost 0.6%. Discount retailer B&M edged 0.4% lower despite announcing a special dividend of 20 pence per share following strong Christmas sales.

The FTSE 250 was dragged down by asset manager Jupiter Fund Management, which plunged 14% after higher-than-expected net outflows in the fourth quarter. The company also announced the July departure of Ben Whitmore, manager of several key funds totalling £4.8 billion in assets.

In the recruitment, Hays Group fell 7.6% after reporting a “more difficult December.” The company said its second-quarter fees declined 10% and it expects to miss profit forecasts for the first half. Peer Robert Walters lost 9.5% in sympathy.

On AIM, touch sensor manufacturer Zytronic cratered 22%. The company blamed a 30% drop in full-year revenue on electronic component shortages, lack of trade shows and the resignation of key staff members.