Oil prices weigh on London stock market

London stocks were down on Wednesday as oil prices took a hit, while the pound staged a tentative recovery from the previous day’s drop.

The FTSE 100 was 0.55% lower, shedding 41.74 points to close at 7,535.46.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said the decline was in part due to declining oil prices.

“This oil slick slipped up the FTSE. The UK index fell half a per cent, once again ducking under 7,550, a price that is proving tricky for it to keep its head above this week,” he said.

Giants BP and Shell were still feeling the effects of Tuesday’s near-3% drop in prices, dropping 15.6p to 528p and 40p to 2,553p respectively.

By the end of the day, a barrel of Brent crude oil was trading at 64.08 US dollars, down 0.47%.

In Europe, the French Cac was down 0.76% and the German Dax fell 0.72%.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Stock markets in Europe are lower heading into the close as trade concerns have resurfaced.

“Yesterday, President Trump said a trade deal with China has a ‘long way to go’, and he also reminded the Chinese government that tariffs could be slapped on 325 billion dollars worth of goods. The announcement from the US leader was a gentle reminder the situation isn’t resolved, and traders used it as an excuse to trim their equity positions.”

Meanwhile the pound was up, gaining 0.37% on the US dollar to 1.244 and climbing 0.23% to 1.109 euros.

The currency was supported by stable inflation figures, as the CPI rate remained steady at 2%.

In company news, Ladbrokes and Coral owner GVC saw sales from its betting shops tumble by nearly a fifth after the recent crackdown on controversial fixed-odds betting terminals.

Shares were down 6.2p to 602.6p.

Increased take-up of fibre services drove higher revenue at TalkTalk in the first quarter.

Shares were up 3.1p to 108.8p.

Galliford Try affirmed expectations for the full year, as it completed a restructuring of its construction business.

Shares jumped 19.5p to 630.5p.

There was a hat-trick of sweet updates from food and drink companies, led by Mr Kipling cake-maker Premier Foods, which revealed an increase in sales. The company’s shares dipped 0.4p to 37.05p.

Vimto maker Nichols brushed aside a “challenging” UK market to notch up rising half-year sales and profits. The stock rose 70p to 1,700p.

Hotel Chocolat capped off the trio with sales of £132 million in the year to July 1 – a jump of 14%. The company said profit before tax will be “in line” with market expectations.

Shares were up 7.5p.

The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 were Burberry Group up 68p to 2,345p, Imperial Brands up 45.5p to 2,096.5p, Aveva Group up 60p to 4,024p, Persimmon up 22p to 1,950.5p.

The biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 were Johnson Matthey down 183p to 3,204p, RSA Insurance Group down 26p to 571p, ITV down 3.5p to 107.8p and BP down 15.6p to 528p.