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Tuesday 26 March 2019

FTSE 100 ends the day higher as oil continues to climb

London’s blue-chip index was boosted by commodities stocks.

Investors are worried an impending hurricane could disrupt oil supply.
Investors are worried an impending hurricane could disrupt oil supply.

By Alys Key, Press Association City Reporter

London’s blue-chip index climbed back above the 7,300 mark on Wednesday as rising oil prices helped to push up commodity stocks.

The FTSE 100 finished the day 39.82 points, or 0.55%, higher at 7,313.4.

A barrel of Brent Crude was at one point trading above 80 US dollars on the back of investor fears that Donald Trump’s Iran sanctions could hurt production levels. Hurricane Florence’s approach towards the US also contributed for high demand for oil.

“The storm is expected to be the most powerful to target North and South Carolina in nearly 30 years,” explained David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets.

“Traders fear supply lines will be disrupted. The Energy Information Administration report showed a 5.29 million barrel decline in US stockpile and that added to the upward move.”

Shares in BP and Royal Dutch Shell rose by 8.9p and 24p respectively.

Mining stocks also rose higher, despite bubbling fears of a trade war. Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton were up 48.5p and 21.6p respectively.

The pound stayed flat against the dollar at 1.303 US dollars, but dipped against the Euro to below 1.121 euros.

Dunelm shares closed 60.5p higher at 582p despite posting a 6.7% fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £102 million for the year to June 30.

Investors were relieved not to see any downgrades after a challenging summer, while like-for-like sales ticked up 4.2%, with stores up 1% and online up 37.9%.

Energy giant SSE trailed after warning half-year profits will tumble 50% due to the effects of higher gas prices and dry, still and warm weather. Shares fell by 103p to 1,151p.

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Investors should remember that SSE can’t control any of these factors, and a business increasingly focused on renewable energy will have good years and bad.

“With that longer-term outlook in mind, the board says it intends to stick to pre-existing dividend plans.”

“Pledging to make good its promise on the dividend will sugar the pill of another profit warning, but with earnings falling and investment requirements stretching well into the billions, SSE can ill-afford more slip ups.”

Sports Direct’s annual meeting kicked off on a dramatic note with the shock resignation of chairman Keith Hellawell. His retirement from the board with immediate effect ends a controversial nine-year tenure at the retailer.

The company then hit headlines again when director Simon Bentley, who also announced his retirement alongside Hellawell, said the board had discussed a combination of Debenhams and House of Fraser.

Shares in Sports Direct peaked after the announcement of Hellawell’s departure but dipped towards the end of trading, finishing the day 11.8p higher at 353.4p. Meanwhile Debenhams shares closed 1.13p or 9.2% higher at 12.9p.

In Europe, the DAX was up 0.52% and France’s CAC rose 0.92%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were British American Tobacco up 208.p to 3,763p, Imperial Brands up 83p to 2,691.5p, Glencore up 8.2p to 295.1p, and Antofagasta up 18.4p to 758.8p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were SSE, down 103.5p to 1,147p, Centrica, down 5.4p to 144.35p, Ocado down 22p to 933p and CRH down 48p to 2,437p.

Press Association

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