FTSE 100 closes higher despite downbeat US sentiment

The FTSE 100 closed solidly in the green on the back of improving UK sentiment, although its gains eased after a downbeat opening across the Atlantic.

US trading opened higher before almost immediately plunging into the red as traders continued their recent sell-off in tech stocks.

London’s top flight closed 69.8 points higher at 5,899.26 at the end of trading on Wednesday.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “European equity markets have finished the session in positive territory as the mood improved greatly from the start of the week.

“Stocks were driving higher in the first few hours of trading but things have faded a little recently.

“The slightly negative beginning to the US trading session seems to have taken some of the wind out of the bull’s sails in Europe.”

The Dow Jones was firmly in the red as it was weighed down by slumps in the value of Amazon and Google-owner Alphabet.

The French and German markets finished in the green but behind the FTSE, which was boosted by news that the Chancellor is to announce his latest financial support package on Thursday.

The German Dax increased by 0.39%, while the French Cac moved 0.62% higher.

Meanwhile, sterling tumbled once again against the increasingly resilient US greenback but rebounded against the euro.

The pound fell by 0.38% versus the US dollar at 1.276 and was up 0.39% against the euro at 1.093.

In London, mining stocks such as Antofagasta and Glencore slid into the red after negative moves in the metal markets.

In company news, AA shares sold off sharply after the vehicle recovery firm said one firm eyeing a potential takeover of the company has pulled its interest.

Platinum Equity said that it had walked away from discussions with AA’s board “by mutual agreement”.

Shares in the AA slid by 5.8p to 28.2p as investor hopes of a bidding war were dashed.

Elsewhere, Upper Crust owner SSP saw shares spike higher despite revealing a £1.3 billion hit to its sales as a result of the pandemic.

Nevertheless, shares in the company bounced 22.3p higher to 203p at the close.

Guarantor lending firm Amigo Holdings saw shares soar after its chief Glen Crawford announced plans to terminate his contract in the latest twist in its ongoing boardroom battle.

It said he will now be replaced by current non-executive director Gary Jennison, after Mr Crawford had “divergence of views with a majority of the board”.

Shares rose by 1.34p to 11.52p after the move, which comes less than a week before a vote on whether the firm should oust its chairman and finance chief and reappoint founder James Benamor to lead the company.

The price of oil remained broadly flat despite a fall in US oil and gasoline stockpiles, according to the latest Energy Information Administration report.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil decreased by 0.12% to 41.71 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were GVC holdings, up 34.6p at 887.4p; JD Sports, up 29.2p at 792.2p; DS Smith, up 9.6p at 280.7; Flutter, up 405p at 12,020p; Ferguson, up 248p at 7,510p; and Mondi, up 48.5p at 1,567p.

The biggest fallers were Fresnillo, down 73.5p at 1,204.5p; BT, down 1.75p at 101.7p; Antofagasta, down 16p at 1,041p; Polymetal International, down 25.5p at 1,674p; and IAG, down 1.4p at 100.6p.

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