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London's FTSE ends week lower

AFP
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index jumped 1.29 percent to close at 6,742.10 points
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London's benchmark FTSE 100 index jumped 1.29 percent to close at 6,742.10 points (AFP Photo/Leon …

London (AFP) - London's leading share index ended slightly lower on Friday in subdued trade before the long holiday weekend and after a major speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

The benchmark FTSE 100 edged down 0.04 percent to end on 6,775.25 points.

Yellen said Friday that the US jobs market has not yet fully recovered, but acknowledged that data is sending mixed signals, spurring debate over inflationary pressures.

In a speech to leading central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Yellen, who has kept Fed policy expansive due to perceived excess slack in the jobs market, gave no clear new signs for monetary policy.

Alluding to the rising pressure from so-called inflation hawks inside and outside the Fed to begin tightening policy, she admitted that analyzing the data has been "especially challenging recently".

The hawks argue that the sharp fall of the jobless rate to 6.2 percent is a clear forerunner of inflation and want the Fed to move forward its timeline for an interest rate hike next year.

While agreeing that the data is sending mixed signals, Yellen did not embrace the argument that a burst of inflation is looming and demands a decisive policy adjustment, like moving forward an interest rate hike to early 2015 from later in the year.

There still remains "considerable uncertainty about the level of employment," she told the Fed's annual central banking symposium, according to the text of her remarks.

"There is no simple recipe for appropriate policy in this context."

In London, Royal Mail was the leading blue-chip riser, adding 2.16 percent to 449.8 pence, followed by financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown, which added 1.85 percent to 1,154.

The day's worst performer -- for the second straight day -- was silver miner Fresnillo, dipping 1.76 percent at 921.5, followed by Irish building supplies group CRH which fell 1.57 percent to 1,379 pence.

On the currency markets, the pound was trading at $1.6577 at 5.30pm, down from $1.6590 at the same time Thursday, while it climbed to 1.2520 euros from 1.2490 euros over the same period.

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