It was another lackluster day for the FTSE 100, with modest gains for the mining giants that failed to offset a sharp decline in Frasers Group’s share price.
The retailer, which owns Sports Direct and is majority owned by Mike Ashley, saw its share price fall by almost a tenth, despite the company hailing strong earnings amid sluggish retail.
It fell to the bottom of the blue chip index, while rival sports retailer JD Sports Fashion also saw its share price fall.
Mining and healthcare stocks rose to the top of the FTSE 100 as the Chinese government said it would ease some of its lockdown restrictions following political unrest.
The FTSE 100 fell 17.02 points, or 0.23%, to 7,472.17.
Analysts pointed out that investors have been swayed by decisions made in China and the potential reopening of its economy, as many listed companies have large markets in Asia.
Meanwhile, investors were more bullish across the Atlantic and its major markets rose as European markets closed.
The S&P 500 rose 0.75% and the Dow Jones 0.69%.
Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at online trading platform IG, said: “To a large extent, this week highlights how traders must somehow weigh the benefits of a gradual reopening of China. with fears of an impending economic contraction in the coming year.
“While the resurgence in equities seen today highlights the interchangeable nature of market sentiment at the moment, the surge in natural gas seen since Tuesday shows how a cold spell in Europe could test bulls again if fears inflation are resurfacing.”
Elsewhere in Europe, the German Dax remained roughly in the green and rose 0.02%, while the French Cac fell 0.2%.
The pound was up 0.25% at 1.2235 US dollars, but down 0.18% at 1.1591 euros.
In company news, Frasers Group told shareholders its revenue jumped 13% to more than £2.6bn in the past half year, while pre-tax profits jumped more than half.
Nonetheless, investors were put off by warnings of a tough retail environment and its share price fell 9%.
Fashion retailer In The Style said it was considering a possible sale of the business, although it is not currently in talks with any buyers.
At the same time, it confirmed that its chief executive Sam Perkins would step down at the end of the year, to be replaced on an interim basis by founder Adam Frisby.
Shares of the company edged up 0.93%.
Digital estate agency Purplebricks said it was raising its annual cost-cutting target to £17m from £13m as it continues to make redundancies across the business and reduce marketing expenses.
Its stock price fell 7.2% at the close.
The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 were Haleon, up 10.45p at 316.15p, Rio Tinto, up 164p at 5,780p, Fresnillo, up 19.2p at 885.4p, Pershing Square Holdings, up 55p to 2,885p, and Hargreaves Lansdown, up 15.4p to 850.4p.
The biggest losers in the FTSE 100 were Frasers Group, down 80.5p at 814.5p, London Stock Exchange Group, down 508p at 7,380p, Intermediate Capital Group, down 59.5p at 1,157, BT Group, down 4.35p to 112.55p, and Airtel Africa, down 4.4p to 116.8p.