London - Britain's top equity index retreated on Friday from its highest level in more than 14 years, with gold mining company Randgold Resources hit by a fall in the price of the precious metal.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which hit a 14-1/2 year high of 6,904.86 points earlier this week, slipped back by 0.1 percent, or 8.32 points, to 6,869.65 points in early trade.
Randgold Resources fell 2.8 percent, making it the worst-performing FTSE 100 stock in percentage terms, as the price of gold hovered near three-month lows.
The FTSE 100 remains up by around 2 percent since the start of 2014.
The stock market has been propped up by an economic recovery in Britain, and signs of better corporate earnings and more corporate takeover activity.
However, the FTSE 100 index is yet to breach the 6,900 point level - seen as a key hurdle to cross before it can then challenge record highs of 7,000 points.
Nevertheless, InterTrader chief market strategist Steve Ruffley felt the record 7,000 points level was achievable.
“The momentum is certainly there,” said Ruffley.
“The fact that investors rejected the opportunity to break below 6,526.80 points, and the fact that subsequent highs have been made, leads me to the conclusion the buyers will not rest until 7,000 is hit.”
BP STEADIES AFTER SLUMP
Shares in oil major BP steadied on Friday, after the stock had slumped 5.9 percent slump on Thursday following an adverse US court ruling over BP's role in a 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Nevertheless, some traders felt it was too risky to get back into BP's shares for now.
“I'm not buying BP here. The ruling opens up the door in the United States to more fines for BP,” said Beaufort Securities sales trader Basil Petrides.
“The US government has got its knife out for BP and it's sharpening the blade,” he added. - Reuters