FTSE 100 rebounds as US investors cheer prospect of China trade talks


The FTSE 100 closed higher for the first time in eight days after investors cheered US assurances that trade talks with China would still take place next month.

London’s top flight closed 27.01 points higher at 7,198.7 points at the end of trading on Wednesday.

Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index, said: “The FTSE climbed higher across the morning session, however, was giving up those gains across the afternoon, most notably following the US open.

“Whilst European markets are managing to keep their heads above water, it’s a different story over on Wall Street, which has opened sharply lower, as recession fears take over.”

The European markets pushed higher as they shrugged off weak German industrial production data, which raised fears of a potential contraction in the major economy.

The German Dax increased by 0.71%, and the French Cac rose by 0.61%.

The Dow Jones opened lower after it was dragged down by a number of declining major stocks, including a faltering Walt Disney Company.

Elsewhere, central banks in New Zealand, Thailand and India all cut rates as they highlighted concerns over the state of the global economy.

Sterling edged marginally lower on a relatively quiet day, as traders remain cautious about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

The pound was 0.03% down at 1.216 versus the US dollar, and down 0.34% at 1.082 against the euro.

In stocks, Paddy Power owner Flutter was one of the day’s top risers after it held firm on annual guidance, despite reporting a dip in profits for the first half of the year.

Flutter said a £47 million increase in taxes and duties had affected its bottom line. Without this additional cost, underlying earnings would have grown by 15%.

Shares in the gambling business rose by 372p to 6,600p on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, investment firm Standard Life Aberdeen saw shares dive after bulky outflows weighed on profits in the first half.

Adjusted profit before tax declined almost 10% to £280 million in the six months to June, it said.

Shares in the company closed 21.2p lower at 260.6p.

Legal financier Burford Capital lost almost half of its value on a disastrous day, after activist short-seller Muddy Waters said it was betting against the firm.

Burford saw investor sentiment plunge after Muddy Waters also published a highly critical report on the company.

Shares in Burford fell 516p to 605p at the close of trading.

Recruitment firm Page Group saw shares edge higher after it posted higher first-half profits and revenues, despite Brexit uncertainty holding both employers and candidates back from making big decisions.

Shares in the company were 13.2p up at 453.4p on Wednesday.

The price of oil fell sharply in the wake of the Energy Information Administration report, which showed a build in oil and gasoline forecasts.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil fell by 3.92% to 56.28 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Just Eat, up 50.4p at 789.8p, Flutter, up 372p at 6,600p, Fresnillo, up 36p at 680.8p, and BAE Systems, up 17.4p at 553.4p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were NMC Health, down 258p at 2,000p, Standard Life Aberdeen, down 21.2p at 260.6p, Spirax Sarco, down 550p at 8,060p, and Rolls-Royce, down 29p at 730p.