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Top European shares suffer losses as French political divisions grow

London’s FTSE 100 fell 16.81 points, or 0.21%%, to 8,146.86 (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
London’s FTSE 100 fell 16.81 points, or 0.21%%, to 8,146.86 (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A downbeat day for European markets has seen France and Germany’s top indices suffer big losses, while the UK’s edged lower after a choppy week.

London’s FTSE 100 fell 16.81 points, or 0.21%%, to 8,146.86.

The blue-chip index closed the week in the red, after having one of its worst sessions in several months on Tuesday but clawing back some of its losses the following day.

Investor sentiment was weak across Europe on Friday with France’s Cac 40 closing 2.66% lower after falling more than 3% during the day.

Intense political in-fighting among parties in France has raised concerns about the country’s future, with it facing snap parliamentary elections at the end of the month.

Axel Rudolph, senior market analyst for IG, said that there is “no stopping the flows out of European stocks”, adding that the political in-fighting had become “farcical”.

The mood also spread to Germany with its Dax index closing 1.34% lower.

Over in the US, trading got off on the back foot with the S&P 500 down about 0.2% and Dow Jones down 0.25% by the time European markets closed.

The pound was down about 0.65% against the US dollar at 1.268 and down 0.3% against the euro at 1.185.

House prices
Shares in Crest Nicholson surged on Friday after it revealed it had rejected two takeover offers from rival housebuilder Bellway (Gareth Fuller/PA)

In company news, shares in Tesco moved higher after the supermarket giant said that its sales had ticked up in recent months, compared with the previous year, and pointed to an improvement in sentiment among shoppers.

The group highlighted sales of its Tesco Finest range, and suggested that higher wages were benefiting its customers. Shares in the business were 2.6% higher at close.

Elsewhere in the London markets, Crest Nicholson shares jumped more than a tenth higher after the house builder confirmed that it had rejected two takeover offers by rival Bellway last month, including one worth £650 million.

The board said it had rejected the offer in May because it felt it “significantly undervalued” the company and its prospects.

Investors appeared to be buoyed by the prospect of takeover approaches and Crest Nicholson’s share price was up 13.7% at close.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were BT, up 4.55p to 139.55p, Tesco, up 7.7p to 310.2p, Sage Group, up 25.5p to 1,056.5p, Airtel Africa, up 2.7p to 118.6p, and Ocado, up 6.2p to 357.3p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Burberry, down 43.3p to 980.2p, Melrose Industries, down 26.4p to 600.6p, BAE Systems, down 48p to 1,335p, Rentokil, down 14.5p to 447.1p, and Intertek, down 146p to 4,744p.