BUSINESS CLOSE: FTSE 100 dives 3.5%; Gas prices at record high

BUSINESS CLOSE: FTSE dives 3.5% as Russia fears escalate; British investor quits Evraz; Royal London profits higher; gas prices hit new records

UK stocks have suffered heavy losses today as the Ukraine war intensifies, with the FTSE 100 recording its biggest weekly decline in over a year.  

The UK blue chip index has closed down 3.5 per cent, or 251.7 points, to 6,987.1, while the FTSE 250 has also tumbled 3.5 per cent, or 692 points, to 19,387.68. 

A City veteran has stepped down from the board of Roman Abramovich-backed Russian steelmaker Evraz, which has been at the centre of the fallout on the London market since the Ukraine invasion.

James Rutherford, who was previously senior vice president with Capital Group, told the board on Thursday he would be stepping down with immediate effect but no reason for his departure was given.

British mutual Royal London saw operating profits surge to £133million in 2021, up from £41million the year before, as new inflows into its funds business jumped from £3.9billion to £5.3billion.

The firm attributed £9.4billion of new business sales to strong growth in its workplace pensions business, which recovered to near pre-pandemic levels.

European natural gas prices have soared above €200, while UK prices have also hit a new record high of 508p a therm. Oil has fallen back slightly from $120 a barrel yesterday to around $115. 

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions continue to cause havoc in financial markets