Disappointing oil and gas stocks drag FTSE 100 into red
The FTSE 100 closed lower as it came under pressure for the third day in succession, after it was weighed down by poor figures from oil and gas stocks.
London’s top flight closed 1.91 points lower at 7,584.87 points at the end of trading on Thursday.
Commodity and mining stocks, which hold a significant proportion of the FTSE’s value, were largely in the red on Thursday, led by Shell after shares slumped on declining profits.
Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, said: “The day started weaker for London stocks and despite a blip higher mid-morning, the FTSE skidded lower again in the afternoon, weighed down by sharp declines from miners and oil companies.”
The European markets edged higher for the second day in a row, after a fairly subdued July, after the US federal reserve confirmed plans to cut rates on Wednesday.
The German Dax increased by 0.53%, and the French Cac rose by 0.44%.
The Dow Jones opened higher after investors came to terms with the fact the Fed did not cut rates as heavily as they had hoped.
The Bank of England’s announcement that the UK now expects growth of just 1.3% in 2019 held the value of sterling in the red, although it did crawl slightly higher after a rough start to trading.
Sterling was particularly dented by disappointing manufacturing data on Thursday morning, as July’s PMI figures revealed that factory orders fell at the fastest rate in seven years.
The pound was 0.07% down at 1.214 versus the US dollar, and up 0.02% at 1.110 against the euro.
In stocks, Royal Dutch Shell was one of the market’s most significant fallers after its profits fell by more than a quarter in the three months to the end of June, as lower oil prices weighed on earnings.
Shares in the company declined by 128p to 2,466p at the end of trading.
London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) was the biggest gainer on Thursday as investors cheered its deal to buy data provider Refinitiv in a deal worth 27 billion US dollars (£22.3 billion).
The announcement follows LSEG’s confirmation earlier this week that it was in talks to acquire the business, which had already caused a spike in its share price.
The group saw shares close up 432p at 7,058p.
Elsewhere, Barclays saw shares edge higher after it cheered its highest half-year profits for nearly a decade but warned costs will need to be slashed over 2019.
The lender reported an 82% surge in statutory pre-tax profits to £3.01 billion for the six months to June 30 as it put hefty mis-selling charges and settlements behind it.
Shares in the banking giant moved up 1.8p to 155.88p.
The price of oil slipped sharply on the combination of a stronger US dollar and concerns about weaker demand.
The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil fell by 1.34% to 63.34 US dollars.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were London Stock Exchange Group, up 432p at 7,058p, British American Tobacco, up 203.5p at 3,155.5p, Intertek Group, up 254p at 5,962p, and Standard Chartered, up 22.4p at 699.2p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Mondi, down 96.5p at 1,707p, Royal Dutch Shell, down 128p at 2,466p, Anglo American, down 87p at 1,952p, and Glencore, down 12p at 254.45p.