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FTSE close: Stocks flat as global growth fears resurface

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The FTSE 100 has ended today’s session flat as investors remain cautious after weak manufacturing numbers came out of the US.

Friday ended with the blue-chip index at 5,776.92 points, which is where it started the session. The FTSE spent much of the afternoon down after the US Commerce Department said orders for long-lasting factory goods such as industrial machinery dropped in July but then recovered before the market’s close.

Speculation that the Federal Reserve could attempt to buoy the world’s largest economy with a third bout of quantitative easing was recently dampened when St. Louis Fed president James Bullard said further policy action seems unnecessary.

However, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke today made comments suggesting the central bank is considering adding stimulus.

Emerging markets fund manager Ashmore was the day’s largest faller in London, dropping 4.26 per cent to 331.70p after being downgraded from neutral to sell by Citigroup.

Mining stocks Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation, Evraz, Anglo American and Kazakhmys also fell as the weak US manufacturing data added to concerns about the health of global growth.

Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer headed the FTSE’s gainers after a report on Bloomberg said private equity firm CVC Capital Partners is considering buying the retailer.

Healthcare company Smith & Nephew, consumer goods firm Reckitt Benckiser, banking group Standard Chartered and energy company Centrica were among the day’s biggest risers.

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