The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page -

THE oil mar­ket ex­tended one of its steep­est de­clines in re­cent years with Brent crude plum­met­ing past the $60 a bar­rel mark after the in­flu­en­tial oil car­tel Opec met in Vi­enna to de­cide pro­duc­tion lev­els for the next six months.

Prices fell sharply as traders re­mained con­cerned that Opec would fall short of ex­pec­ta­tions, amid mount­ing pres­sure from US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who is ag­i­tat­ing for a re­duc­tion in the cost of crude.

Brent crude fell as much as 5pc in af­ter­noon trade be­fore set­tling 3pc down at $59.67, while West Texas In­ter­me­di­ate tum­bled be­low $51 a bar­rel be­fore end­ing 3.1pc lower at $51.24.

Opec agreed a ten­ta­tive oil pro­duc­tion cut dur­ing the meet­ing but said it was wait­ing to hear from non-Opec mem­ber Rus­sia, a key ally of the car­tel, be­fore de­cid­ing the ex­act vol­umes. The group will re­lease fur­ther de­tails to­day.

Shares in oil and gas gi­ant BP fell 23.7p to 503.3p on the back of the news, while Premier Oil ended 11.45pc, or 8.55p, lower at 66.10p

Stock mar­kets nose­dived across the board yes­ter­day after the ar­rest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of Huawei. In­vestors wor­ried the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Bei­jing would be strained with the Chi­nese busi­ness woman fac­ing pos­si­ble ex­tra­di­tion to the US.

The FTSE 100 suf­fered its worst day of trad­ing in two years, clos­ing 217.79 points down, or 3.15pc, at 6,704.05, with the FTSE 250 fin­ish­ing 517.79 points, or 2.83pc, lower at 17,753.31.

Stocks in Europe fol­lowed suit, with the Ger­man DAX slip­ping 389.26 points, or 3.48pc, to 10,810.98 and the Paris CAC 40 fall­ing 163.90 points, or 3.31pc to 4,780.46.

Antofa­gasta was the big­gest large-cap faller in the UK, down 7.07pc to 760.0p, while lux­ury fash­ion firm Ted Baker was among the mid-cap win­ners.

Shares at the cloth­ing re­tailer rose 1.55pc to £14.90 after it re­ported that re­tail sales jumped 2.3pc and on­line sales rose 18pc in its lat­est trad­ing up­date. Stocks were hit on Mon­day fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour by the firm’s founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive, Ray Kelvin. The com­pany con­firmed it had hired a law firm to in­ves­ti­gate the ha­rass­ment claims.

Mean­while shares in strug­gling tour op­er­a­tor Thomas Cook wiped out Wed­nes­day’s gains, down 1.74p, or 5.1pc, to 32.66p. It has been a tur­bu­lent few weeks for the travel firm after shares fell to their low­est level since 2013 fol­low­ing its third profit warn­ing of the year.

FTSE Rus­sell, the global in­dex provider, on Wed­nes­day con­firmed that Thomas Cook would be one of the six com­pa­nies ex­it­ing the FTSE 250 in­dex in the De­cem­ber 2018 quar­terly re­view.


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