London’s FTSE 100 hovers close to all-time high on mining rally

12 April 2024, 17:24

City stock
City stock. Picture: PA

The blue-chip index was a whisker away from surpassing 8,047 points but retreated in the afternoon.

The UK’s FTSE 100 came within touching distance of an all-time high on Friday, driven by a rally for mining stocks and fresh evidence that the UK economy is edging its way out of recession.

The blue-chip index was a whisker away from surpassing 8,047 points, the record it reached in February last year, but retreated in the afternoon.

It closed 71.78 points higher, or 0.91%, to 7,995.58.

At one point in the day it was 1.5% higher, lifted by mining giants including precious metals miner Fresnillo which saw gains of more than 7%.

The stocks have been buoyed by gold prices hitting record highs and surging oil prices.

Investors were also in better spirits as official data showed that the UK economy grew in February, albeit by just 0.1%.

But it signalled that the country was taking tentative steps out of the shallow recession it dipped into at the end of the year.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The FTSE 100 has been tantalisingly close to breaching an all-time intraday record before a frustrating retreat in afternoon trade.

“The blue-chip index regained its mojo, as prospects brightened for the UK economy, while geopolitical tensions pushed up commodity prices, boosting miners and energy giants.

“Gold has touched fresh record highs amid concerns about an escalation of conflict in the Middle East, while Brent crude jumped above 91 US dollars a barrel.

“However, warnings about an imminent attack by Iran on Israel appeared to have sparked nervousness among investors and saw the FTSE 100 slip further away from record levels.”

It was a weaker session for other European stock indices which failed to hold on to gains and closed in the red. In Frankfurt, the Dax was down 0.28% and in Paris the Cac 40 closed 0.16% lower.

Trading started firmly on the back foot in the US, with the S&P 500 down 0.9% and Dow Jones down about 0.75% by the time European markets closed.

The pound slid against the US dollar, falling 0.8% to 1.2455, and was about 0.05% lower against the euro to 1.17.

In company news, shares in BP jumped after reports that a state-owned, United Arab Emirates oil company had pondered a takeover.

Reuters reported on Thursday evening that the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) had decided ultimately that BP was not the right fit and would not match its strategy. Shares in BP closed 3.7% higher.

Elsewhere, shares in Petrofac plunged by a fifth after the energy services group said it was in discussions with lenders over exchanging a significant proportion of its debt for equity in the business.

The business said it was considering all the available options to shore up its financial performance but investors appeared to be deterred by the update and its share price closed 20.5% lower.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Fresnillo, up 44p to 622.5p, Glencore, up 23.55p to 485.7p, BP, up 19.1p to 539.1p, Anglo American, up 78p to 22,01.5p, and SSE, up 58.5p to 1,667p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were easyJet, down 23.4p to 527p, IAG Group, down 6.45p to 162.65p, Ocado, down 13.4p to 356.7p, JD Sports Fashion, down 3.85p to 118.7p, and St James’s Place, down 13.4p to 415.8p.

By Press Association