FTSE 100 closes higher despite oil losses

Top shares in London were climbing higher on Friday as the global mood improved, even as some of its biggest stocks suffered from lower oil prices.

The FTSE 100 was 22.86 points, or 0.32%, higher at 7,207.18.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “European stock markets are largely higher on the day heading into the close. The absence of further trade tensions between the US and China has prompted the bout of buying.

“Yesterday, Beijing made it clear they won’t be striking back at the US in terms of tariffs, and some dealers are taking the view the US then has no need to ramp up tensions.

“The two sides are due to meet to discuss trade next month, and there is a feeling we are approaching September on an optimistic note.”

The French Cac was 0.56% higher while the German Dax gained 0.85%.

London stocks gained despite a slump in oil prices ahead of a hurricane near Florida that analysts thought could dampen demand. Oil shares account for some of the biggest stocks on the index.

A barrel of Brent Crude oil was trading at 59 US dollars, down 3.15%.

BP was down 2.7p to 500.2p and Royal Dutch Shell’s “A” shares were 21p lower at 2,275.5p. Shell’s “B” shares were among the biggest fallers, dipping 23.5p to 2,265p.

Meanwhile sterling edged slightly lower against the dollar but pushed higher against the euro as it appeared optimistic on the back of opposition against Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “Sterling appeared eager to end the week – and month – on a positive note, pinning its hopes on a no-deal Brexit being averted.”

The pound initially moved 0.4% higher against the dollar, but sank later in trading after optimism in the US over its trade dispute with China.

The pound was 0.1% down at 1.216 versus the US dollar and up 0.51% against the euro at 1.107.

Mr Campbell added: “The pound’s rebound had the side-effect of keeping the FTSE’s own gains on the lower-end of what was seen elsewhere.”

In company news, shares in high street chain Shoe Zone plunged 60p to 132p after the chief executive suddenly quit and the company issued a profit warning.

Mr Kipling maker Premier Foods has named Alex Whitehouse as its new boss, after its previous chief was ousted earlier this year following a vicious boardroom battle.

Shares were largely unmoved, dipping 0.25p to 32.75p.

An investigation into charitable donations made by mining giant Ferrexpo that were allegedly misappropriated ended, with the company saying no one from the business was to blame.

Shares climbed 3.15p to 202.1p

Shares in builders’ merchant and DIY business Grafton Group jumped 70p to 752.5p after it reported surging first-half profits.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were NMC Health up 174p to 2,502p, Micro Focus up 57.4p to 1,108p, Rio Tinto up 1-6.5p to 4,149.5p and DS Smith up 8.3p to 340p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Sainsbury’s down 3.9p to 196.1p, Direct Line down 3.4p to 283.1p, Hargreaves Lansdown down 19.5p to 1,878p and Royal Dutch Shell (B) down 23.5p to 2,265p.

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