FTSE avoids big drop as oil and copper prices rise

FTSE avoids big drop as oil and copper prices rise
The FTSE 100 closed nearly 18 points down, reaching 7,016.49.

Indexes across Europe ended in the red again on Wednesday, although the FTSE 100 avoided a major drop thanks to rising oil and commodity prices.

The price of Brent crude oil rose 3% to 75.84 dollars, helping to push BP and Shell close to the top of the FTSE 100.

They rubbed shoulders with Evraz, Antofagasta and Glencore, big mining companies that benefited from a rise in copper prices.

They helped push the FTSE 100 down by 0.25%.

The 17.57 point rise put the index at 7,016.49.

“With energy prices soaring across Europe, the economic outlook is starting to look increasingly uncertain, and while central banks are likely to take that into account, the fact remains that the rebound which was looking so solid a couple of months ago is starting to show signs of slowing markedly,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

“Unsurprisingly the likes of BP and Royal Dutch Shell are benefiting from the surge in natural gas prices, as well as crude oil prices which have hit their highest levels since the summer.”

Travel groups were in the red, including British Airways owner IAG, airplane engine maker Rolls-Royce, and Holiday Inn and Premier in owners IHG and Whitbread.

Just Eat Takeaway.com headed the losers after Deliveroo announced that Amazon Prime members would get free delivery.

On the continent, the German Dax index ended 0.6% down, while the Cac 40 in Paris dropped 0.9%.

In New York, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones were both up 0.2% when markets closed in Europe.

Sterling was up 0.1%, buying 1.384 dollars or 1.1711 euros at the same time.

In company news property developer Countryside agreed to scrap unfair contracts that saw leaseholders subjected to ground rents doubling every 10 to 15 years, following an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.

Shareholders were less impressed than the competition watchdog, with shares falling 2.1%.

The Restaurant Group told shareholders it has seen a 21% like-for-like growth across Wagamama since reopening until August 29, with its pubs business reporting 14% growth.

Bosses also revealed the company made a £58.8 million statutory loss for the half-year to July 4, compared with a £234.7 million loss over the same period last year, with sales down 4.6% to £216.8 million for the six-month period.

Shares closed 10.6% down.

It said Wagamama, which currently has 144 outlets, has the potential to grow to between 180 and 200 restaurants.

Housebuilder Redrow hailed a record order book for new homes of £1.43 billion but cautioned that it expects sales rates to cool to more typical rates next year.

The firm also revealed that revenues jumped 45% to £1.94 million for the year to June 27, against the same period last year, which was depressed after the pandemic thwarted activity.

Shares closed up 0.1%.

Mixer maker Fever-Tree said it enjoyed better-than-expected retail trading with revenues up 36% for the six months to June, compared with the same period last year.

The company said on-trade sales in pubs and restaurants was doing “well” but did not go into details.

Shares closed up 9.9%.

Car dealer Pendragon announced it has swung back to a half-year profit after revenues soared over the past six months, with an underlying pre-tax profit of £35.1 million for the six months to July 30, compared with a £31 million loss in the same period last year.

The company said it has been buoyed by investment in its online channels, helping it to grow total revenues by 49% to £1.8 billion for the half-year.

Shares closed up 0.5%.

Cyber security firm Darktrace revealed losses increased more than fivefold in the last year due to the costs associated with joining the stock market.

A pre-IPO restructuring of its ownership cost more than 107 million dollars (£77 million), leading to a 147.6 million dollar (£106.6 million) loss in the year to the end of June, from 26.9 million dollars (£19.4 million) a year before.

Shares rose 8.8%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Just Eat Takeaway.com, up 300p to 6,307p, IAG, up 4.98p to 137.12p, Burberry, up 62p to 1,780p, Rolls-Royce, up 3.66p to 105.5p, and AB Foods, up 61p to 1,852.5p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were IAG, down 6.2p to 142.1p, United Utilities, down 25.2p to 585.8p, Johnson Matthey, down 93p to 2,763p, Anglo American, down 96.5p to 2,996.5p, and BT, down 4.2p to 155.55p.