Geopolitical concerns continue to weigh on FTSE

Heading into the close the FTSE 100 is down 23 points as uncertainty in Ukraine sends stocks lower. 

FTSE falls below 6700

The FTSE has been driven below the 6700 mark as unfinished business in Ukraine has triggered an exodus from equities. British stocks are holding up better than their European counterparts, who are paying the price for being heavily dependent on Russian natural gas.

Moscow is being squeezed politically and financial by the west. Russian debt has been downgraded by Standard & Poor’s following two failed bond auctions, and this could lead to Moscow reducing its gas supply to Europe.

Ford misses expectations

In the US, the Dow Jones is down 100 points at 16,400.

Ford is in the red after the car maker revealed a softer-than-expected EPS. Adverse weather was blamed for some of the shortcomings, but the company took a $400 million hit because of recalls and warranties.

Microsoft has managed to cling on to positive territory after reporting better-than-expected earnings last night, and its expansion into cloud computing ensured blue skies trading today. 

Gold breaks through $1300

Gold has broken through the $1300 barrier today as the precious metal benefitted from a flight to quality. As long as the situation in Ukraine remains tense, the metal will be in demand. 

Retail sales boost GBP/USD

A jump in UK retail sales has lifted GBP/USD, providing further evidence that the British economy is growing.  

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