Com­modi­ties lead FTSE 100 higher

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - TOM REES

THE FTSE 100 was car­ried higher by a global stock surge as in­vestors cheered the “blue rip­ple” in the US midterms and spec­u­la­tion swirled that the oil car­tel Opec could turn off the pro­duc­tion taps again.

In­vestors piled back into eq­ui­ties on hopes that a split Congress will con­strain the US pres­i­dent while keep­ing in place the mar­ket-friendly poli­cies that have un­der­pinned the lat­est leg of the age­ing bull run. Global stocks leapt higher af­ter the un­cer­tainty hang­ing over mar­kets lifted and the dol­lar’s re­treat boosted met­als priced in the cur­rency.

The dol­lar slid on the fad­ing prospect of Don­ald Trump push­ing through more stim­u­lus and forc­ing the Fed­eral Re­serve to push up in­ter­est rates in the US fur­ther.

Fres­nillo and An­glo Amer­i­can led the buoy­ant min­ing sec­tor higher as metal prices pushed ahead on the weaker dol­lar. The FTSE 100 min­ers climbed 31p to 902p and 32.6p to £17.33 re­spec­tively, while heavy­weight peer Rio Tinto ral­lied 62p to £39.31.

Oil prices fluc­tu­ated ahead of Opec’s meet­ing over the week­end af­ter re­ports spec­u­lated that the oil car­tel and Rus­sia are mulling a 2019 cut to out­put fol­low­ing the re­cent slide in prices. Ris­ing US shale pro­duc­tion and waivers be­ing granted for sanc­tions im­pact­ing Ira­nian crude ex­ports have re­vived over­sup­ply fears.

Brent crude ral­lied off a 12-week low be­fore its 2pc gain was wiped out late in trad­ing by data in­di­cat­ing a jump in oil stock­piles. De­spite the late dip in prices, oil gi­ants BP and Royal Dutch

Shell ‘B’ climbed 4.7p to 544.3p and 18p to £24.74 re­spec­tively. The jump in com­modi­ties un­der­pinned the FTSE 100’s 76.60-point climb to 7,117.28, while US shares hit their high­est level since the “Red Oc­to­ber” sell-off.

Else­where, Royal Mail slid back to­wards a record low af­ter oust­ing UK post and parcels boss Sue Whalley af­ter 12 years in the wake of its re­cent profit warn­ing. Royal Mail closed 5p lower at 348p, leav­ing its shares just 10p away from an all-time low.

BT shares briefly suf­fered a 3.2pc dip af­ter in­vestors were spooked by fears that a Supreme Court de­ci­sion would cre­ate a prece­dent for cor­po­rate pen­sion schemes. It ruled that char­ity Barnardo’s could not switch to a lower mea­sure of in­fla­tion to re­duce its pen­sion li­a­bil­i­ties. BT, which also has a large pen­sion deficit, even­tu­ally fin­ished 1.8p lower at 249.3p.

As­so­ci­ated Bri­tish Foods en­joyed its strong­est share price surge in 2018 as City scrib­blers gushed over its Pri­mark di­vi­sion fol­low­ing Tues­day’s up­date, gain­ing 105p to £25.65.

Ham­mer­son clawed back from its early slide to inch down just 1.1p to 441.9p as Bar­clays warned in a down­grade to “un­der­weight” that the Birm­ing­ham Bull Ring owner may be one of the hard­est hit in the sec­tor.

Pub op­er­a­tor Greene King fol­lowed sink­ing ri­val JD Wetherspoon to drop 11.3p to 489.3p af­ter Cit­i­group told clients that its peers could also be hit by ris­ing staff cost pres­sures. Fi­nally, video game maker Code­mas­ters surged 16.5p to 170p af­ter Jef­feries ini­ti­ated cov­er­age with a “buy” rat­ing.

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