FTSE 100 shakes off losing streak to finish higher

Top-flight stocks in London rebounded on Wednesday, shaking off a three-day losing streak and gloom in global markets to notch up a gain of more than 100 points.

The FTSE 100 index closed 102.31 points, or 1.47%, higher at 102.31.

An early rally was led by banks and mining stocks, with shares in most blue-chip companies finishing the day higher.

Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, said: “Ignoring the negative sentiment that dragged on trading in US and Asia overnight, the FTSE bounded higher on Wednesday. Snapping a three-day losing streak and with only a handful of firms in the red, the FTSE managed to power back through 7000.”

The French Cac was 1.03% higher while the German Dax jumped 1.61%.

Oil prices also rebounded after declining earlier in the week, as expectation of a production cut grew.

But growth was tempered by data showing a rise in US crude supplies.

A barrel of Brent crude was trading 2.7% higher at 64.11 US dollars, still much lower than the four-year high of more than 84 dollars reached at the end of September.

US president Donald Trump thanked Saudi Arabia on Twitter for the recent decline in oil prices.

Meanwhile the pound slipped 0.15% to 1.276 US dollars.

Sterling was also lower against the euro, slipping 0.26% to 1.121.

Ms Cincotta said: “Pound traders were holding their nerve as Theresa May headed to Brussels to try to finalise the Brexit deal and to put the finishing touches to the political declaration on future partnership.”

In corporate news, B&Q’s owner Kingfisher finished the day in the red, down 7.5p to 238.8p as it warned there was “no quick fix” to its problems.

The company posted a slump in sales at the DIY chain and said that it will exit Russia, Spain and Portugal to focus on its core markets.

TalkTalk shares were 3.6p higher at 125.6p as it reported narrower losses in half-year results.

The company also confirmed plans to shift its headquarters from London to Salford in a move affecting hundreds of staff.

Babcock shares took a beating, falling 28.2p to 566p after it revealed a 64% plunge in half-year profits.

Profits were pushed lower by a £120 million charge related to the restructuring of its oil and gas business and also including costs such as its decision to sell the Appledore shipyard in Devon.

The saga of troubled Patisserie Valerie parent Patisserie Holdings took another turn on Wednesday as the accountancy watchdog launched an investigation into Grant Thornton’s audit of the firm. It will also probe former finance chief Chris Marsh.

Shares in the company are still suspended on London’s junior market after it discovered a black hole in its accounts and was forced to seek emergency funding.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Johnson Matthey, up 364p to 3,141p, NMC Health up 270p to 3,678p, Melrose Industries up 9.85p to 177.1p and Smurfit Kappa up 118p to 2,290p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Kingfisher down 7.5p to 238.8p, Shire down 46p to 4,584p, Intertek down 41p to 4,556p and Ferguson down 39p to 4,749p.