Market slumps into the red on commodity stock gloom
TUMBLING commodity stocks kept the London market in the red, as Brexit fears sunk the pound to as even-year low below 140 US dollars.
The pound plummeted against the dollar for the third consecutive session to 1.39, with its value against t he euro also coming under pressure, falling more than half a per cent to 1.26.
The FTSE 100 Index slumped 95.13 points to 5867.18, as commodity stocks posted hefty falls following a significant drop in the price of oil in earlier trading. Mining giants Glen core and
Anglo American were down 13.1p to 116.4p and 43.4p to stand at 409.8p respectively.
However, Brent crude mounted a late rally, rising more than 2 per cent to 34 US dollars a barrel, as it shook off negative comments from the previous session when Saudi oil minister Ali Ibrahim Al- Naimi ruled out production cuts.
Oil prices have become closely linked with the global market in recent weeks, as crude prices remain 70% below their peak in the summer of 2014.
Plunging commodity prices also took their toll on the European and American markets.
Germany’ s Dax was down more than 2.6 percent on Wednesday, the C ac 40 in France fell 1.9 per cent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped just under 1 per cent. In stocks, housebuilder Barratt
Developments cheered traders after it posted a 40 per cent leap in half-year profits following efforts to complete more homes,
/2 p to sending shares up 91 5711/ 2p.
The FTSE 100 firm said pre- tax profits rose to £295 min the six months to the end of December, up from £210.2 ma year earlier.
The result boosted other housebuilders, with Persimmon up 46p to 2075p, in a bounce back after heavy falls across the sector on Monday as investors feared a Brexit or a UK cap on immigration could hamper the construction industry.
European plane- maker Airbus saw its share price fall just under 1 per cent after announcing it would step up production of its new A 350 aircraft as the firm boosted profits and forecast further growth this year.
The Paris-listed firm, which employs around 135,000 staff including around 10,000 in the UK, said it would ramp up production of its long- range widebody A350 to seven a month, in line with growing air traffic forecasts this year.
Recruitment firm Hays saw its stock fall 8 per cent or 10.4p to 113.8p in the FTSE 250 Index as it said demand for new staff in the UK weakened in the second half of last year due to growing uncertainty over world trade.
Overall, the firm said pre- tax profits lifted by 7 percent to £82.4 min the six months to the end of December as it set record net fees across 18 markets including Germany and Japan.
In other news, Leeds Building Society - Britain’s fifth biggest mutual - posted record pre- tax profits of £ 108.5m for 2015, up 34 per cent on 2014.
The society said net mortgage lending rose to £ 1.4bn in 2015, from £ 1.1bn the previous year, in what was the group’ s best ever lending performance.
It also attracted 22,000 new customers, taking its membership to 719,000.
Wednesday’s biggest risers in the FTSE 100 were Persimmon up 46 p to 2075 p, gold Resources up 130 p to 6650 p,
Intertek Group up 50p to 2881p and Fresnillo, which ended the
2p to 991/ 2p. day up 161/
Wednesday’s biggest fallers in the FT SE 100 Index were Glencore down 13.1 p to 116.4 p, Anglo American down 43.4p to 409.8p, BHP Billiton down 62.6p to 684.3p and Rio Ti nto down 114p to stand at 1874p.