FTSE 100 lifted into positive territory by miners
A strong performance from Wall Street overnight also helped boost the index.
The FTSE 100 ended in positive territory on Thursday, buoyed by mining and commodities stocks.
London’s top flight closed the day up 34.43 points, or 0.49%, at 7,038.95, with the likes of Antofagasta, Anglo American and Fresnillo leading the charge.
A strong performance from Wall Street overnight also helped boost the index, as well as a bounce back in oil prices.
Fiona Cincotta, a senior market analyst at City Index, said: “Following a Fed inspired rally on Wall Street, the FTSE jumped higher on the open and retained its gains across the session.
“Whilst banks initially traded higher following a comfortable pass in the most recent stress test, commodity stocks did most the heavy lifting as they traced base metals and oil prices higher.”
Brent crude was trading over 2.5% higher at 60 US dollars a barrel following a sharp sell off earlier in the week.
A weaker pound, flagging under the weight of yet more Brexit malaise, also offered support to the FTSE 100.
Sterling was down 0.3% versus the US dollar at 1.278 and the British currency shed 0.4% against the euro to 1.123 at the London market close.
“The pound was trading lower, giving back some gains from the previous session. Concerns over the outcome of Brexit and the impact that Brexit will have on the economy continued to dominate sentiment towards the pound,” Ms Cincotta said.
In stocks, Unilever shares were flat after the consumer goods giant announced the departure of boss Paul Polman.
Mr Polman, who fended off Kraft’s takeover bid and oversaw a failed plan to abandon its London listing, is to retire in the new year.
He will be replaced by Alan Jope, current president of the group’s beauty and personal care division.
Shares closed down 3.5p at 4,254.5p.
On the FTSE 250, shares in shopping centre owner Intu plummeted after suitors pulled a £2.8 billion takeover bid.
Intu, which owns the Arndale Centre in Manchester and Gateshead’s Metrocentre, was subject to a sustained sell off after a consortium of bidders blamed economic uncertainty and market volatility for the deal’s collapse.
Intu said market conditions meant the consortium – led by John Whittaker’s Peel Group – could not continue with its proposed offer within the timeframe set out by City takeover rules.
Shares were down 78.1p, or 40.5%, to 114.5p at the close.
Thomas Cook shares, meanwhile, continued their downward trajectory as the travel giant released further details of a “disappointing” financial year, two days after its stock plunged following a profit warning.
The group unveiled a loss after tax of £163 million, compared with a profit of £9 million this time last year.
As the company previously flagged in an unscheduled statement on Tuesday, underlying earnings were £58 million lower at £250 million in the year to September 30.
Shares were down a further 2.4p, or 6.65%, at 33.68p.
In Europe, Germany’s DAX shed 0.01% while France’s CAC 40 was up 0.47%.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ashtead up 68p at 1,795.5p, Antofagasta up 30p at 836.4p, Anglo American up 51.2p at 1,611p and Wood Group up 19.2p at 646.6p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were British Land down 35p at 570p, Land Securities down 43p at 835.4p, Severn Trent down 73p at 1,877p and Persimmon down 48.5p at 1,965.5p.