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Commodity firms help FTSE outperform European markets

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General view of the City from Greenwich Park, south London. London stocks closed higher on Wednesday (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)
General view of the City from Greenwich Park, south London. London stocks closed higher on Wednesday (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)

The FTSE 100 outperformed its European rivals as miners helped to keep it in positive territory.

Concerns that Russia will expand its insistence on being paid in roubles beyond Poland and Bulgaria, to the likes of Germany and Italy, pressed down on traders across the rest of Europe.

London’s top index ended the day up 39.42 points, or 0.53%, at 7,425.61 points.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said: “The move higher in the opening minutes of the session on Wall Street is already rapidly disappearing, with indices heading back towards flat on the day, while in Europe the morning gains are vanishing too.

“Under the sustained pressure of earnings season, stocks are vulnerable to further declines.

“While continental European markets and their US counterparts seem poised for a push back towards the recent March lows, rising commodity prices are helping the FTSE 100 to outperform, a continuing turnaround in fortunes for the UK’s top index and one that is perhaps the most surprising development of the year so far for markets.”

In Europe, the main markets still manage to finish in the green but were off their top levels from earlier in the day.

The French Cac was up 0.38% and the German Dax increased 0.17% by the end of the session.

Across the Atlantic, the US markets saw a modest rebound in early trade as investors paused for breath and looked towards the latest numbers from Meta.

Meanwhile, sterling had a late rebound against the dollar after the US currency had struck a two-year high.

The pound increased by 0.33% against the dollar to 1.254, and rose 0.03% against the euro to 1.189.

In company news, GlaxoSmithKline pushed higher after a strong performance from its Covid antibody treatment helped the drugs giant blast through expectations over the last three months.

The business turned over £9.8 billion in the first quarter, up 32% from the same period last year, and ahead of the £9.2 billion predicted by experts.

Shares in GSK increased by 42.4p to 1,797p at the end of trading as a result.

Housebuilder Persimmon finished lower after it cautioned that property completions could slow slightly in the first half of the year.

It came as the FTSE 100 firm backed its annual volume growth targets and reported strong margins despite cost pressures in the sector and the cost-of-living crisis for consumers.

Shares finished the day down 104p at 2,076p.

Elsewhere, WHSmith also finished the day lower despite returning to profit as it continued its pandemic recovery.

The high street retailer closed 56.5p lower at 1,455p despite the revival of its travel operation.

The price of oil settled back down after another Russia-inspired jump during Tuesday’s session.

Brent crude decreased by 0.55% to 104.41 US dollars per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Anglo American, up 195p at 3,506.5p, Antofagasta, up 76p at 1,544.5p, Rio Tinto, up 222p at 5,675p, Glencore, up 14.85p at 479.65p, and Croda, up 214p at 7,630p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Aveva, down 364p at 1,924p, Persimmon, down 104p at 2,076p, Barratt Developments, down 17.6p at 490.6p, Ashtead, down 145p at 4,173p, and Berkeley, down 135p at 3,989p.

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