Tumbling oil price drags down FTSE 100
A slump in the price of oil held back the FTSE 100 as it ended Friday’s trading in the red.
The FTSE 100 closed down 5.94 points at 7,428.19, as the recent rise in the cost of oil was wiped out after Donald Trump called on the Opec oil organisation to bring down prices.
The price of a barrel of Brent crude fell 3.42% to 71.81 US dollars.
David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “The FTSE 100’s relatively high exposure to the commodity sector is why the index is underperforming its continental counterparts.
“The sharp sell-off in oil is hurting, has hammered the energy sector, and the miners are lower too.”
European stocks ended the day higher, as strong performances by media stocks offset the decline in the energy sector.
The German Dax rose 0.27% and the French CAC rose 0.21%.
In company news, Royal Bank of Scotland slipped in value after the lender reported a dip in first-quarter profit as it was held back by economic uncertainty and competitive pressures.
The bank, still 62.4% owned by the taxpayer, saw bottom line profit fall 12.5% to £707 million in the three months to March 31. It closed down 10p at 240p.
Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, said: “RBS’s profits in the first quarter may have beaten market expectations, but investors have been spooked by its outlook statement.”
Just Eat’s share price tumbled after it saw a slowdown at its UK business, with the online delivery firm blaming warm weather and the timing of Easter.
The group saw UK orders grow 7.4% to 31.9 million in the three months to March 31, compared with growth of 24% in the same period last year. Its share price fell 34.2p to 714.2p.
Advertising giant WPP was one of the FTSE 100’s biggest risers on Friday, despite reporting a fall in like-for-like sales in the first quarter.
Comparable sales at the group fell 2.8% in the period, with total revenue up 0.9% to £3.58 billion, matching market expectations. It closed up 49p to 955.3p.
Shares in AstraZeneca dipped into the red, despite the blue-chip drug company reporting a surge in first quarter sales on the back of strong revenues for cancer treatments.
Revenues grew for the third consecutive quarter, with a 14% increase in product sales to £4.2 billion after removing currency fluctuations. It closed down 94p at 5,886.5p.
Publisher Pearson saw its shares slide marginally, after returning to growth in the first quarter as it accelerated its digital-focused transformation. It closed down 6.4p at 858.6p.
The value of the pound bounced back after falling for four consecutive days. The pound was 0.38% up versus the dollar at 1.293 and 0.10% up against the euro at 1.159.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were WPP, up 49p to 955.3p, Smurfit Kappa Group, up 62p at 2,356p, Hargreaves Lansdowne, up 51p at 2,276p, and BT Group, up 5.1p at 230p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Just Eat, down 34.2p to 714.2p, Royal Bank of Scotland, down 10p at 240p, Glencore, down 10.6p at 310.8p, and BP, down 13.2p at 556.1p.