FTSE 100 edges into green after BP buoys sentiment

The FTSE 100 tipped into positive territory at the close of play after it was buoyed by a strong showing by BP.

Investors welcomed the oil giant’s decision to cut its dividend as it helped to offset a disappointing set of figures for fellow multinational Diageo and bring the index into the green, as company news dominated proceedings.

London’s top flight closed 3.15 points higher at 6,036 points at the end of trading on Tuesday.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “The last few hours of trading hours were muted as there has been little in the way of big macroeconomic news to influence sentiment.

“As we approached the end of the trading session, the major equity benchmarks of Europe were showing modest gains, while the Dax 30 was underperforming.

“There were plenty of corporate stories today, but the lack of a deal between Republicans and Democrats in relation to the one trillion dollar Covid-19 pandemic package has kept sentiment at bay.”

The major European markets were mixed following a muddled session dominated by earnings reports showing firms hit by Covid-19 across the world.

The German Dax decreased by 0.36%, while the French Cac moved 0.28% higher.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones edged higher despite rumbling tensions between the US and China, while investors also continued to await the coronavirus relief package.

Meanwhile, sterling dropped lower again as its weak start to the week continued as the EU rejected calls by Tory MPs to reopen the Brexit divorce deal.

The pound fell 0.09% versus the US dollar at 1.306 and was down 0.14% against the euro at 1.11.

Travel and aerospace firms rebounded to push higher, with British Airways owner IAG and Rolls-Royce both closing with strong gains.

In company news, BP closed 18.2p higher at 299.25p despite swinging to a 6.7 billion US dollar (£5.1 billion) underlying replacement cost loss in the second quarter of the year.

Diageo saw shares sink in value after profits were almost halved after it was hit by the closure of bars, as well as a £1.3 billion write-down.

The Johnnie Walker maker fell by 160p to 2,721p as total sales also dived by 9% as a result of the pandemic.

Roadside recovery firm AA saw shares surge after it said it was approached by three parties vying to snap up the motoring business.

It closed 4.2 up at 29.2p at the end of trading, due to the talks with suitors as it looks to reduce its £2.6 billion debt pile.

Double glazing specialist Safestyle closed 0.9p higher at 28.65p after the Government released details of its green Homes Grant scheme which goes live at the end of September.

The price of oil dipped marginally, with a barrel of Brent crude oil decreasing by 0.16% to 44.47 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Melrose, up 8.28p at 96.5p, BT, up 8.08p at 106.1p, IAG, up 11.55p at 175.4p, and BP, up 18.2p at 299.25p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Diageo, down 160p at 2,721p, Avast, down 25p at 570p, Berkeley, down 147p at 4,413p, and LSE, down 248p at 8,438p.