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FTSE 100 Eyes Worst Week in 13 mnths, Ukraine Crisis Deepens

  • Recruitment agency Hays slips on Russia exit
  • Mid-cap index eyes worst week since March 2020
  • Financials lead losses
  • FTSE 100 down 2.8%, FTSE 250 off 2.8%

March 4 (Reuters) - UK's FTSE 100 slumped on Friday and was on course for its largest weekly decline in over a year as signs that Russia's invasion of Ukraine was intensifying rattled investors.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index fell 2.8% in a global selloff sparked by news of a fire near Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant - the largest of its kind in Europe - following fighting with Russian forces.

Financials lost 4.0%, leading losses on the index, with HSBC, Prudential, Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays all down 2% to 3.5%.

"People are nervous around the Ukraine headlines and nobody wants to own stocks. It's Friday and nobody knows what will happen over the weekend, which adds to the risk averseness," said Keith Temperton, a sales trader at Forte Securities.

The London Stock Exchange said it had suspended with immediate effect trading in stocks of several Russian-based companies, including Sistema and Magnit . 

The commodity-heavy benchmark index has now erased all its gains this year to trade 4.5% lower, but has still fared better than its European peers thanks to a rally in metal and oil prices.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index slipped 2.8%. It index is down nearly 6.4% for the week, on track for its biggest weekly loss since March 2020.

Marks & Spencer fell 3.1% after the food and clothing retailer said on Thursday it had suspended shipments to its Turkish franchisee's Russian business.

Hammerson declined 0.6% despite the mall operator reporting a smaller annual loss and a drop in debt levels.

While Hays Plc slipped 7.3% after the recruitment agency said on Thursday it has decided to close its offices in Moscow and St Petersburg and cease all its business activity and exit Russia.

Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Saikat Chatterjee and Aditya Soni

Source: Reuters

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