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FTSE 100 closes lower as Indian virus turmoil weighs on sentiment

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PA City Staff
·3-min read
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The FTSE 100 slipped back into the red as concerns over Indian coronavirus cases offset soaring profits for BP and HSBC.

Traders across Europe were cautious about economic uncertainty in Asia throughout the session, according the analysts.

London’s top flight closed 18.15 points lower at 6,944.97 on Tuesday.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “It’s been a pretty lacklustre day for markets in Europe today, with the FTSE100 and DAX both drifting back on the back of a weaker Asia session, as concerns over events in India act as a drag on global recovery prospects.

“There may also be some anxiety over recent sharp rises in commodity prices, which are now starting to bleed into the agriculture sector, as both corn and wheat prices surge to multi year highs, largely over supply concerns due to unseasonably dry weather in North and South Dakota.”

In the US, the Dow Jones drifted marginally below its record highs despite the latest consumer confidence figure for April surging to another record.

The biggest Eurozone markets also tipped into the red, but were above intraday lows as trading calmed in the afternoon.

Elsewhere, the German Dax decreased by 0.31% and the French Cac moved 0.03% lower.

Meanwhile, sterling made modest gains against the US dollar as London traders found solace in the stable currency markets.

The pound increased by 0.01% versus the US dollar to 1.390 and was up 0.13% against the euro at 1.151.

In company news, BP shares nudged lower despite beating profit expectations in the first quarter as it told investors it will kick off around £500 million in share buy-backs.

The oil giant’s 3.3 billion US dollar (£2.4 billion) replacement cost profits haul for the first three months of 2021 marked a bounce back from losses of 628 million US dollars (£452 million) a year earlier.

Nevertheless, it shares closed 1.25p lower at 295.3p on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, pub and hotel owner Whitbread dropped in value after it sank to £1 billion loss in the past year due to the impact of the pandemic.

The Premier Inn operator saw shares slip 114p lower to 3,297p after it reported occupancy levels of just 23% in January and 29% in February.

HSBC climbed higher after the bank posted a 79% profit surge to 5.8 billion US dollars (£4.2 billion) for the first quarter. It closed 17.65p higher at 440.4p.

The price of oil improved slightly ahead of this week’s OPEC+ meeting, when they are expected to rubber stamp a modest easing of the output cuts that have been in place for several months now.

The price of Brent crude oil increased by 0.44% to 65.94 dollars per barrel.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were HSBC, up 17.65p to 440.4p, Experian, up 52p to 2,796p, Lloyds Group, up 0.685p to 43.575p, Entain, up 24.5p to 1,724.5p, and BT Group, up 2.05p to 158.6p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Aveva Group, down 212p to 3,695p, Rolls-Royce, down 4.88p to 102.94p, Bunzl, down 107p to 2,341p, Whitbread, down 114p to 3,297p, and Polymetal, down 44.5p to 1,559.5p.