LONDON MARKET CLOSE: FTSE 100 Ends Higher As OPEC To Reduce Production

LONDON (Alliance News) - Stocks in London finished the week on a high note with the FTSE 100 ...

Alliance News 7 December, 2018 | 5:15PM
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LONDON (Alliance News) - Stocks in London finished the week on a high note with the FTSE 100 pushed up by oil majors on news OPEC will be cutting back oil production.

The FTSE 100 index closed up 74.06 points, or 1.1%, at 6,778.11, having reached 6,861.45 earlier in the day. The blue chip index is down 2.9% for the week.

The FTSE 250 ended 90.80 points higher, or 0.5%, at 17,844.11, and the AIM All-Share closed up 6.87 points, or 0.8%, at 896.76.

The Cboe UK 100 ended up 1.7% at 11,519.27, the Cboe 250 closed up 0.7% at 15,983.96, and the Cboe Small Companies ended 0.2% higher at 11,179.51.

"European equity markets are set to finish higher today, but they are off the highs of the session. Volatility is high and investors are twitchy. It has been a dreadful week for European markets, and today's positive move can't mask the previous losses," said David Madden, market analyst at CMC.

Major oil producers agreed to cut their output by 1.2 million barrels, in an effort to reduce the market oversupply that has hurt prices and producers' revenue in recent weeks.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh confirmed the size of the cut at the meeting of the 25 countries that account for nearly half of global oil supplies.

If the group fully implements the plan, current global oil production would decrease by about 1.2%.

Two thirds of the cut will be shouldered by the 15 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, while the rest will be reduced by a Russia-led group of 10 additional oil exporters, Zangeneh told Iranian state television.

An agreement was in doubt until the last minute as OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia haggled with Russia in Vienna over how to divide the cut between the two sides.

Analysts expect these two major producers to shoulder most of the reduction.

Markets are currently oversupplied because countries such as Saudi Arabia and Russia increased output in anticipation of the US oil embargo against Iran that came into effect in November.

The embargo turned out to be less strict than expected, with Washington granting exemptions to some of Iran's oil customers, including China and Japan. US oil production has also risen in the past year.

Iran will not take part in the supply reduction deal, Zangeneh said.

The FTSE 100 ended the week strongly, with oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and BP surging higher on the news oil producers will cut back their output.

Brent oil was quoted at USD62.92 a barrel at the equities close from USD58.97 at the same time the prior day.

Shell A shares ended 3.0% higher with its B shares gaining 2.8%. BP ended the day 2.3% higher.

Land Securities ended up 2.0% as the property investment company acquired a 1.6 acre site on Lavington Street in Southwark, south east London, for GBP87.1 million from an unnamed private company.

The site consists of two buildings amounting to 128,000 square feet and is said to have significant development potential. Land Securities said the acquisition will add to its central London development pipeline, which currently stands at 2 million square feet.

At the other end of the blue chip index, Associated British Foods ended the worst performer having lost 4.6%.

The company said Primark trading remained challenging in November due to tough conditions in the UK retail market.

AB Foods, which also owns operates a sugar business, however remained confident of increasing Primark's profit in 2019 financial year by "careful inventory management and improved margins."

At the top of London's mid cap index was Premier Oil, gaining 15%. The exploration and production firm said it has completed the sale of its southern North Sea Babbage interests to Verus Petroleum SNS and is on track to meet its 2018 production forecast.

Premier Oil has received GBP30.3 million for its Babbage interests, after adjusting for cash flows collected by Premier since the January 2018 effective date.

Verus will also take on exploration commitments valued at USD24 million.

Premier Oil expects its 2018 production to be around 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, rising from 75,000 barrels in 2017.

The oil producer also noted that more than 30% of its 2019 forecast oil entitlement production has been hedged at an average price of USD70 per barrel.

Games Workshop finished trading up 4.3%. The wargames manufacturer and retailer said its early estimates show an increase in sales and operating profit in the first half of its financial year on the back of the success of its Warhammer brand.

Games Workshop said estimates indicated revenue of approximately GBP124 million. This compares to revenue of GBP108.9 million a year before.

Games Workshop also estimated its operating profit for the period at approximately GBP41 million, up modestly from an operating profit of GBP38.8 million for the year-ago period.

McCarthy & Stone closed up 4.1%. The retirement housebuilder has hired Nigel Turner and Mike Lloyd to be joint chief operating officers, with effect on January 1.

Turner will be responsible for bringing down build costs and executing McCarthy & Stone's new strategy, while Lloyd will be responsible for the group's Management Services operations, as well as sales, marketing & resales.

At the other end of the FTSE 250, Genus ended down 5.9% as the animal genetics firm raised GBP68 million through a share placing - at a discount - which will go towards reducing its net debt and adding flexibility to its balance sheet.

Genus raised the GBP68 million by placing 3.1 million shares in a price of 2,200 pence per share, which reflects a 7.8% discount to the stock's closing price on Thursday of 2,386.00 pence. The amount of shares placed and the price is in line with Genus's announcement of the placing late Thursday.

As the London market was closing, retailer Ted Baker said its Founder & Chief Executive Ray Kelvin has agreed to take a voluntary leave of absence while an investigation into harassment claims against him takes place, closing down 1.2%. They are down 19% this week following the reports.

The upmarket's fashion retailer's board has appointed Chief Operating Officer Lindsay Page as acting CEO with immediate effect to cover the position while Kelvin remains on leave.

The company, which has established an independent committee of non-executive directors to ensure any concerns are carefully considered, said it has being made aware of "further serious allegations about the conduct of Kelvin", which the committed will now investigate.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2750 at the London equities close, lower compared to USD1.2765 at the same time on Thursday.

It was a busy day in the US, with President Donald Trump naming a new Attorney General and UN Ambassador as employment in the country climbed much less than expected.

Stocks in New York at the London equities close were down. The DJIA was down 1.6%, the S&P 500 index down 1.5% and the Nasdaq Composite down 1.8%.

A US Labor Department report said non-farm payroll employment rose by 155,000 jobs in November after surging up by a downwardly revised 237,000 jobs in October.

Economists had expected employment to climb by about 200,000 jobs compared to the jump of 250,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the unemployment rate in November remained unchanged for the second straight month at 3.7%, holding at its lowest level since hitting 3.5% in December of 1969.

"However, markets shouldn't be too disappointed as the fact that there aren't enough workers was almost certainly a major factor," said ING Chief International Economist James Knightley.

He added: "Indeed, the National Federation of Independent Businesses continues to report that the proportion of firms that can't fill the vacancies remains at an all-time high."

CMC's Madded added: "There were positive aspects to the report, but the negatives made traders less fearful about potential rate hikes from the Federal Reserve. The markets are still pricing in a rate hike for this month, but beyond that, traders are well certain."

In US political news, Trump confirmed on Friday he will nominate William Barr to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

If confirmed by the Senate, Barr would return to the position in which he served in the early 1990s under former president George Bush.

The move comes at a critical time for the probe being led by special counsel Robert Mueller. Barr served as Mueller's boss when he was attorney general under Bush.

The nomination of Barr also would end a controversy over Trump's appointment of Matthew Whitaker to serve as acting attorney general. A group of senators have challenged the appointment as unconstitutional because Whitaker took the job without being confirmed by the Senate.

Trump also intends to nominate State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as US Ambassador to the United Nations, according to numerous media reports.

Trump's potential nomination of Nauert, which was first reported by Bloomberg News, is likely to draw criticism due to her lack of foreign policy experience.

Nauert, a former Fox News host, joined the Trump administration as State Department spokeswoman in April last year and briefly served as acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

In Paris the CAC 40 ended up 0.9%.

Germany's Christian Democrats elected Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to succeed the German chancellor as the head of the party.

Before the announcement, Frankfurt's DAX 30 was up 1.1%, before going on to finish down 0.2%

Securing the CDU top job represents a major step towards becoming chancellor once Merkel bows out of power in 2021.

Kramp-Karrenbauer made her case ahead of the vote by saying the CDU had to maintain its position as the "last unicorn in Europe," the bloc's last successful catch-all party.

In European economic news, the Eurozone's economic growth rate halved in the third quarter as estimated initially, latest figures from the Eurostat showed on Friday.

Gross domestic product grew 0.2% from the second quarter, when it increased 0.4%.

The year-on-year growth rate was revised down to 1.6% from 1.7%. In the second quarter, growth was 2.2%.

The euro stood at USD1.1397 at the European equities close, higher against USD1.1372 the prior day.

Gold quoted at USD1,245.80 an ounce at the London equities close higher against USD1,241.50 on Thursday.

The economic calendar next week has Chinese CPI and Japanese third quarter GDP over the weekend. On Monday there is German imports and exports at 0700 GMT and UK GDP at 0930 GMT. On Tuesday, the UK parliament will vote on its Brexit plan and there is US Redbook index at 1355 GMT.

On Wednesday, there is Eurozone industrial production at 1000 GMT and US CPI at 1330 GMT. On Thursday there is German CPI at 0700 GMT and US jobless claims at 1330 GMT.

Friday has China retail sales at 0200 GMT, Japan industrial production at 0430 GMT, Eurozone Markit Services PMI at 0900 GMT and US retail sales at 1330 GMT.

The UK corporate calendar next week has Hollywood Bowl Group full year results on Monday. On Tuesday, WPP will be releasing a strategy update and Ashtead and Carpetright will report half year results.

On Wednesday, British American Tobacco and John Wood Group will issue trading statements and Dixons Carphone will report its interim results.

Thursday has half year results from Purplebricks Group and Sports Direct International and full year results from TUI. Thursday also has trading statements from Ocado Group, Bunzl and Serco Group.

Friday will see Reach and Balfour Beatty issue trading statements.

By Paul McGowan;

Copyright 2018 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article
Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar Rating
Genus PLC 2,660.00 -
Games Workshop Group PLC 4,566.00 -
Associated British Foods PLC 2,555.00
Premier Oil PLC 97.94 -
BP PLC 560.10
McCarthy & Stone PLC 133.50 -
Ted Baker PLC 1,443.00 -
Land Securities Group PLC 866.60 -
Royal Dutch Shell PLC B 2,547.50
Royal Dutch Shell PLC Class A 2,538.50 -
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