FTSE falls on Brexit concerns

British shares have retreated as concerns about a possible Brexit and stagnation at the top-end of the market put pressure on house building companies.

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House builders extended their losses from the previous session, with Berkeley Group, Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey falling between 2.2 per cent to 3.5 per cent on Friday.

The Thomson Reuters UK home building index dropped 2.3 per cent, hitting an 11-month low.

Investors cited concerns around a June referendum on whether Britain should stay in the European Union and worries about a slowdown in the luxury sector.

“Ahead of Brexit, people have been selling the house builders and the pressure will remain until we get the vote out of the way – that’s the main headwind for UK house builders,” Zeg Choudhry, managing director at LONTRAD, said.

“It’s (a) fear of the UK being not the place to invest or … less competitive outside of the eurozone,” he added.

The FTSE 100 index was down 0.3 per cent at 6344.35 points by 0833 GMT (1833 AEST) on Friday, broadly in line with the rest of the European market.

InterContinental Hotels Group was also among the top fallers, dropping 1.9 per cent after investment bank JPMorgan cut its rating on the stock to “underweight” from “neutral”.

Among the top risers, shares in SABMiller advanced 1.3 per cent after Anheuser-Busch InBev agreed concessions with the South African government to secure regulatory approval for its $US100 billion ($A130.00 billion)-plus takeover of the British brewer.

Outside of the blue-chips, hedge fund manager Man Group was the top riser among the mid-caps, jumping more than 5 per cent after some well-received first-quarter results.

The firm posted a slight drop in assets under management in the three months to the end of March, with analysts saying that Man Group had weathered the storm well in a difficult quarter for asset managers.