Profit-takers caused the London market to fall back, yet failed to lessen the shine of a better-than-expected year for the FTSE 100 Index.
The Footsie closed at 5618.8 - down 19.5 points from the previous session's four-and-a-half year high of 5638.3 but up 16.7 per cent for the year. And, despite the slide, the
top flight was still above the important 5600 mark - giving hope to investors that it could progress beyond 6000 next year. The FTSE 250 Index also fell back from its record high on Thursday to close at 8794.3.
Yesterday's sell-off came as investors banked profits in stocks which had rallied in recent weeks.
BAE Systems was top of the blue chip fallers as it shed 6.25p to 381.75p after reaching an all-time high in the previous session.
The recent gains followed news that the Government had agreed to update the Royal Saudi Air Force with up to 72 Eurofighter Typhoons, which BAE makes at its base in Lancashire.
Hilton Group was also in negative territory after making strong gains on Thursday ahead of the sale of its hotels division to its US cousin Hilton Hotels Corporation.