China stimulus plan boosts energy firms as FTSE nears peak - London Report

PLANS out of Beijing to boost further stimulus to boost its economy also propelled the FTSE higher, to just below last month’s record highs yesterday, with expectations China will launch further stimulus, helping miners and energy stocks tracking gains in oil prices.

The UK Oil and Gas index rose 0.9 per cent as crude rose for a second day, helped by expectations that a global supply glut is easing and by fighting in oil-producing Iraq. Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP both rose about one per cent.

Miners BHP Billiton and Antofagasta gained nearly one per cent each after a survey showed Chinese factory activity contracted for a third month in May, suggesting weakness persists in the world’s biggest metals consumer. That helped lift the UK mining index 0.4 per cent.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended 0.1 per cent higher at 7,013,47 points, leaving it less than two per cent below a record high of 7,122.74 points reached in April. The FTSE remains up by around seven per cent since the start of 2015.