FTSE slide halted by BP’s £12bn US settlement - London Report

BRITAIN’S top share index ended higher yesterday as oil major BP rose after reaching an $18.7bn (£12bn) settlement with the US government and commodity stocks tracked stronger crude oil and metals prices.

BP rose 4.5 per cent, the top gainer in the blue-chip FTSE 100 index, after saying it had reached the settlement on the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.

“They have managed to draw a line under this long-standing dispute and can now start afresh,” Jawaid Afsar, sales trader at Securequity, said.

The UK Oil and Gas and mining indexes gained 2.1 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively, after metals firmed on signs the growth slowdown in top consumer China is levelling out and oil prices surged after weaker-than-expected US non-farm payrolls data.

Britain’s benchmark FTSE 100 index ended 0.3 per cent higher at 6,630.47 points. The index gained more than one per cent on Wednesday, after sharp falls in the previous four sessions on concerns about Greece.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged Greeks to reject creditors’ terms in a referendum on Sunday, after Greece failed to make a debt repayment to the IMF earlier in the week.

“Greece uncertainty is creating shorter-term headwinds, but when we focus on the fundamentals we believe they are still supportive for European equities,” Robert Parkes, equity strategist at HSBC Global Research, said.

“We’re expecting earnings growth this year for Europe, ex-UK, to be more than double the consensus expectation. We’re looking for 25 per cent earnings growth this year and we believe that will be enough to keep the bull market intact.”

Among other movers, Dixons Carphone was up 1.2 per cent after announcing a deal with Sprint to open and manage Sprint-branded stores in the United States. Analysts welcomed the deal by the retailer, formed last year from the merger of Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse.

The market was also helped by data showing US job growth slowed in June, tempering expectations for a September interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

Babcock, British Land, Burberry, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling and Royal Mail traded without entitlement to their latest dividend payout, which trimmed a further 1.7 points off the FTSE 100, Reuters calculated.

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