Miners lift UK’s FTSE 100 higher as inflation eases further

17 April 2024, 17:34

City stock
City stock. Picture: PA

The FTSE 100 moved 27.63 points higher, or 0.35%, to close at 7,847.99.

European stocks have moved higher amid continued hopes of conflict de-escalating in the Middle East, while fresh data showed UK inflation eased to its lowest level in more than two years.

London’s FTSE 100 recovered some of its losses from Tuesday, having suffered the sharpest one-day fall since last July as global tensions remain at the forefront of investors’ minds.

But markets were calmer on Wednesday, with a lack of major developments coming from the Middle East helping give miners a boost.

The FTSE 100 moved 27.63 points higher, or 0.35%, to close at 7,847.99, with Anglo American, Antofagasta, Fresnillo and Rio Tinto the biggest risers of the day.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst for IG, said: “The world has spent four days waiting for an Israeli response to Iran’s weekend attacks, and none has yet materialised.

“The wave of selling across global markets has subsided for now, though we suspect it could easily return should Tel Aviv opt for a major retaliatory action.”

Meanwhile, the latest official data showed UK Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation slowed to 3.2% in March.

The figure was slightly higher than analysts were expecting, leading City economists and investors to trim their forecasts for interest rate cuts this year.

Expectations of rates staying higher for longer may have given the pound a boost. It was up about 0.2% against the US dollar to 1.245, and more or less flat against the euro to 1.17.

Other top European stock markets were in the green on Wednesday. In Frankfurt, the Dax was up 0.12% and in Paris, the Cac 40 climbed 0.79%.

Over in the US, it was a poorer start to trading with the S&P 500 down 0.4% and Dow Jones down 0.3% by the time European markets closed.

The price of Brent crude oil fell by 1.4% to 88.70 US dollars per barrel.

Royal Mail plans
Royal Mail’s owner International Distribution Services said it had rejected a takeover approach by EP Group (Rui Vieira/PA)

In company news, shares in International Distributions Services, which owns Royal Mail, jumped after it was revealed the group rejected a takeover approach from shareholder and Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.

Mr Kretinsky’s EP Group said it put forward an all-cash proposal on April 9 to buy out the remaining shares in IDS, having already built a stake of around 27.5%, but it was rejected by the board.

IDS confirmed in the afternoon that it thought the bid was “opportunistic” and did not value the company highly enough. Its shares were 28.9% higher at close.

Elsewhere, shares in Asos moved higher after the fashion business said it was pressing ahead with “necessary action” to turn the business around amid widening losses.

In an update to shareholders its said its underlying earnings in the 2024-25 financial year are set to be “significantly” higher than the previous two years as a result of cost-cutting and slashing stock levels. Its share price was 4.9% higher at close.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Anglo American, up 73.5p to 2,168.5p, Fresnillo, up 17p to 601.5p, Antofagasta, up 61p to 2,269p, Rio Tinto, up 134p to 5,388p, and B&M European, up 12.6p to 512.6p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Segro, down 17.2p to 827.6p, Phoenix Group, down 8.8p to 476p, Sage Group, down 20p to 1,143p, Flutter Entertainment, down 240p to 14,760p, and GSK, down 20.5p to 1,590p.

By Press Association