FTSE finishes higher but off top levels after downbeat Wall Street

A strong start to London trading lost its spark in face of a weak opening on Wall Street.

The FTSE 100 still crawled over the finish line in the green as commodity and property firms helped to keep it in positive territory.

London’s top index ended the day up 5.65 points, or 0.08%, at 7,386.19 points.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “After some big declines over the past couple of days, and hitting five-week lows yesterday, European markets started the day very much on the front foot in early trade.

“As the day has progressed, a lot of these gains have started to dissipate, and once US markets opened, the slide back from the highs of the day has accelerated.

“The inability of equity markets to hold on to today’s initial gains doesn’t bode particularly well and speaks to a general lack of confidence more broadly about the economic outlook, and the ability of central banks to engineer a ‘soft landing’ as they look to tackle inflation.”

The French Cac was down 0.4% and the German Dax decreased 1.14% by the end of the session as they swung into the red later in the session.

The downturn was largely driven by pessimism in the US.

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 both opened sharply lower following a rebound on Monday while investors were also hesitant before a number of major tech firm updates.

Meanwhile, sterling had a largely flat day despite better than expected borrowing figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The pound increased by 0.02% against the dollar to 1.262, and fell 0.1% against the euro to 1.183.

In company news, Ocado settled at the bottom of the FTSE 100 after a poor performance in the latest Kantar grocery market share survey.

The online retail firm recorded a 10.7% sales fall over the latest 12-week period.

As a result, shares in Ocado declined by 86p to 950p at the close of play, representing a three-year low for the stock.

HSBC also saw shares drop as first-quarter profits tumbled by more than a quarter after taking a hit on expected bad debts due to the Ukraine war and soaring inflation.

The lender posted a 28% drop in pre-tax profits to 4.2 billion US dollars (£3.3 billion) for the first three months of 2022.

Shares in the banking firm slid by 27.75p to 472.85p on Tuesday.

Coach operator National Express made gains after it revealed revenues are back to levels seen before the pandemic struck thanks to pent-up demand for travel.

The firm said revenues surged 30% year-on-year in the first three months of 2022, helping shares to rise by 8p to 233p.

The price of oil rebounded slightly from Monday’s sell-off as investors digested the potential impact of slowing demand in China.

Brent crude increased by 2.38% to 104.76 US dollars per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Glencore, up 15.45p at 464.8p, Fresnillo, up 25p at 772.4p, BP, up 10.6p at 379.45p, Anglo American, up 88p at 3,311.5p, and Shell, up 49.5p at 2,124p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Ocado, down 86p at 950p, HSBC, down 27.75p at 473.85p, Melrose, down 6.25p at 114.05p, Dechra Pharma, down 194p at 3,570p, and ABF, down 81.5p at 1,548.5p.