Wednesday 15 August 2018

Energy stocks help push London market to record heights

The FTSE 100 Index rose 1.93 points to close at an all-time high of 7,562.28.

Oil and gas industry
Oil and gas industry

By Ben Woods, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

London’s top-flight index hit record heights on Monday as blue chip energy stocks boosted the market after the price of oil struck a two-year high.

The FTSE 100 Index mustered a measly 1.93 point rise, but still rewrote the record books by closing at an all-time high of 7,562.28.

It ensured the premier index trumped previous records of 7,560.35 set on Friday and 7,556.24 recorded on October 12.

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Graph showing FTSE 100 Index hitting a fresh record high (PA)

Oil majors were among the blue chip stocks giving the market a leg-up, as they tracked the price of Brent crude, which rose 2.4% to $63.58 a barrel.

Shares in BP and Royal Dutch Shell B were up 4.3p to 521.1p and 18.5p to 2,490p respectively, as traders reacted to Saudi Arabia’s drive to stamp out corruption.

The move will hand more power to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who wants Opec to support prices by freezing production beyond the March 2018 deadline.

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Graph showing Brent crude hitting a fresh two-year high (PA)

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “Arguably, the UK index should have done better given the showing from its commodity stocks.”

Across Europe, Germany’s Dax was marginally down and the Cac 40 in France eased back by 0.2%.

In the US, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 hit record highs, while the NASDAQ 100 also lifted to a record peak after shares in Qualcomm surged following a $130 billion (£99.1 billion) takeover bid from rival Broadcom.

On the currency markets, the pound was 0.6% higher versus the US dollar and the euro at 1.315 and 1.133 respectively.

David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “GBP/USD has managed to pull back some of the losses it incurred on the back of Thursday’s sell-off when the Bank of England (BoE) did a dovish interest rate hike.

“There has been little to go on today for sterling traders as there were not major economic announcements from the UK.

“The pound is still in its upward trend that it has been in since March and if it can remain about the $1.30 region, it is likely to continue pushing higher.”

Focusing on UK stocks, challenger bank Aldermore rose more than 3% after its board agreed a £1.1 billion takeover by South Africa’s FirstRand.

The offer from the financial services firm, whose business interests range from investment and retail banking to asset management, will see it fork out 313p per share.

It represents a 22% premium to Aldermore’s closing share price on October 12 and values the firm at £1.1 billion.

FirstRand said it aims to diversify Aldermore’s proposition in the UK, with the possible addition of services such as car financing, personal loans and insurance.

The offer is subject to a shareholder vote but the board has recommended investors back the deal.

Shares in the lender closed up 9.5p to 311.p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Convatec Group up 6.9p at 188.9p, Burberry Group up 49p at 1,964p, BHP Billiton up 36.5p at 1,464p, and Severn Trent up 54p at 2,185p.

The biggest fallers were G4S down 6.9p at 279.6p, RSA Insurance Group down 10p at 607.5p, ITV down 2.3p at 157.5p, and Standard Life Aberdeen down 6.2p at 429.2p.

Press Association

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