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Roaring miners lift FTSE as US stocks left behind

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Winter weather Feb 25th 2021 (PA Wire)
Winter weather Feb 25th 2021 (PA Wire)

European mining shares were boosted on Wednesday as commodity prices rose, offsetting falls elsewhere on the index FTSE 100.

The top index in London ended the day on a healthy 0.7% rise, led higher by Anglo American BHP Rio Tinto and Antofagasta.

The index ended at 7,151 points, an increase of 50.

Many people in England have been gearing up for the semi-final of Euro 2020 tonight, but this has had little impact on the stock market, said Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst.

“In the UK the anticipation that a certain game of football will lead to the consumption of a few million pints hasn’t translated into gains for hospitality businesses on either the FTSE 100 or 250,” she said.

“Only take away supremoes Dominos and Just Eat and those supermarket beer aisles get a pre-match boost. And when you look at all the rhetoric around opening up, mask wearing and case numbers you can understand why investors are a little nervous.”

In Europe, Germany’s Dax index finished the day up 1.1%, while the Cac in Paris rose 0.3%.

It put London and Frankfurt at odds with the US, where markets were only slightly in the green when European traders went home for the day. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones had risen just 0.1%.

“Investor enthusiasm for US stocks appears to be waning, now that we are less than a week away from the start of earnings season,” said IG analyst Chris Beauchamp.

“High-growth tech names have undergone a bit of a reversal today, and the Nasdaq in particular looks rather overextended in the short-term, after a straight-line rally since mid-May that has seen the index and the growth complex come back into fashion in spectacular form.”

Oil giant Shell announced plans to increase its payouts to shareholders by 20% to 30% from the end of this month because of rising oil prices.

Its shares initially rose on the news, but oil showed it was not to be taken for granted when Brent crude dropped in price to 72.97 per barrel, a 2.1% fall.

Shell therefore ended the day down 0.5% along with rival BP which closed down 1%.

Wise, formerly TransferWise, listed in London on Wednesday. Shares were initially trading at around 800p, but had risen closer to 900p by the end of play in the City.

It is the largest listing of a technology company in the history of the London Stock Exchange.

Ten Entertainment said its sales have risen by more than 27% compared to 2019 since reopening sites on May 17. Its shares closed up 3.3%.

Both Page Group and Robert Walters were also trading up around 3% by the end of play in London. The recruiting firms released results showing they are bouncing back from the pandemic, although their UK businesses are lagging behind other markets.

Housebuilder Vistry’s results were better than expected, with average weekly sales up 10% on 2019 levels. Shares rose 0.6%.

Shares in 888 proved a poor gamble on Wednesday, dipping 5.7% after it warned that the benefit it has received from customers being stuck at home by their computers will likely fall away in coming months.

Also in the red was JD Wetherspoon, down a little under 2%. The pub chain said like-for-like sales dipped between mid May and early July, a drop that accelerated during the Euro 2020 tournament.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were BHP up 68p at 2,201.5p; Anglo American up 90.5p at 2,991p; Glencore up 8.15p at 318.15p; Rio Tinto up 153p at 6,038p and Antofagasta up 35.5p at 1,440p.

The biggest fallers were Informa down 23.2p at 512.4p; Entain down 62p at 1,807.5p; IAG down 5.72p at 180.8p; Rolls-Royce down 2.78p at 100.88p and Flutter down 255p at 13,375p.

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