Friday 20 July 2018

FTSE 100 hits record high on back of rising oil prices

Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal has pushed up prices.

Blue chip stocks have risen on the back of oil price rises (PA)
Blue chip stocks have risen on the back of oil price rises (PA)

By Helen Cahill, Press Association City Reporter

London’s blue-chip index hit a record high on Thursday as rising oil prices helped lift UK stocks.

The FTSE 100 ended the day up 53.77 points at 7,787.97, marking its highest level since January.

It came on the back of a rise in Brent crude prices, which rose 0.79% to 79.92 US dollars per barrel  in afternoon trading.

It marked a new 42-month high for the commodity, sparked by the prospect of lower global supplies as the US walks away from the nuclear deal with Iran.

It helped lift UK oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell’s ‘B’ shares, which were up 8.1p at 584p and 58.5p at 2,805p, respectively and among the biggest risers on the FTSE 100.

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The death of the bull market has been greatly exaggerated, not for the first time in recent history.

“The FTSE did endure a shaky start to the year, but after two months of steady climbing, has now regained and surpassed its previous high.”

Across Europe, the French Cac 40  and Germany’s Dax were up 0.98% and 0.91%, respectively.

In currency markets, the pound was flat against the dollar at 1.350, but rose 0.1% against the euro to 1.145.

Bookies were sold off in morning trading after the government announced it would cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals to £2.

However, stocks including William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair made gains in the afternoon, closing up 13.3p at 330.8p and 155p at 8,405p respectively.

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Ocado’s shares jumped to an all-time high after the online grocer announced its fifth international deal, partnering with US grocery retailer Kroger.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ocado’s technology will be used in the US exclusively by Kroger, with the US firm also taking a 5% stake in the London listed group. Shares closed the session up 44.42% or 245.2p at 797.2p.

Experian jumped to the top of the FTSE 100, rising 95.5p to 1,804.5p after it announced plans for a 400 million US dollar share buyback.

Royal Mail shares suffered, falling  42.8p to 555p after outgoing boss Moya Greene reported a 37% fall in bottom-line pre-tax profits to £212 million for the year to March 25 due to a pension charge.

Thomas Cook’s shares fell 4.79% or 7p to 139.1p after the group posted a £303 million loss in the six months to the end of March as it continues to experience “margin pressure” in the UK.

Mothercare’s shares jumped 24.4% or 5.2p to 26.5p after the troubled retailer unveiled its plan to swing the axe on 50 underperforming stores and re-hire the chief executive.

London-focused estate agent Foxton’s fell 2.6p to 73p after reporting a decline in sales, with revenues dropping nearly 15% to £24.5 million in the first quarter.

The company admitted that conditions in the London property market remained “very challenging”.

Housebuilder Countryside fared better, delivering double-digit growth in profits in the first half of the year as it continued to build its factory base and acquired a rival developer. Shares rose 5.2p to 375.2p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Experian up 95.5p at 1,804.5p, National Grid up 31.6p at 864.1p, Burberry up 60p to 1,928p, and Marks and Spencer up 9.1p at 297.3p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Royal Mail down 42.8p to 555p, Hargreaves Lansdown down 30.5p to 1,941p, Mediclinic International down 10p at 671p and HSBC down 8.9p at 729.9p.

Press Association

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