At the close: FTSE 100 index closes lower as Saudi and Iranian oil ministers' statements helps price of oil to fall despite London Stock Exchange surging

 
James Nickerson
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London Stock Exchange Is Opened By A Choir
The London Stock Exchange led the FTSE 100 higher (Source: Getty)

The FTSE 100 index closed lower today as the price of oil fell after comments from the Saudi and Iranian oil ministers put the production freeze into doubt.

The UK's blue-chip index fell 1.25 per cent to 5,962 points, led lower by Standard Chartered and BHP Billiton, despite the surging share price of the London Stock Exchange.

"European markets dropped on Tuesday, led lower by a pullback in the price of oil when the Iranian oil minister called a deal to freeze output “ridiculous"," said Jasper Lawler, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets.

Read more: Saudi oil minister denies Opec is at war with US shale

The London Stock Exchange led its own index of the FTSE 100 after the company announced it was in talks for a possible merger with Germany's Deutsche Boerse. The merger would make the group the largest exchange in the world, valued at $20bn. The London Stock Exchange rose 13.71 per cent to 2,630p per share.

InterContinental Hotels also jumped after it announced plans to give shareholders a $1.5bn dividend after posting strong full-year results. Its share price closed at 2,540p, a 3.5 per cent rise.

Meanwhile, with no cut expected from Opec, Shell's share price closed 2.63 per cent lower at 1,572p, while BP's share price dropped 3.17 per cent to 345.35p.

And BHP Billiton's share price fell after announcing it would be cutting its interim dividend as its profits tumbled. It closed 6.05 per cent down at 746.9p per share.

Other miners also fell as metal prices dropped. Anglo American was down 6.34 per cent to 453.1p per share, while Antofagasta closed 4.04 per cent lower at 496.6p per share.

Read more: Standard Chartered chief dubs 2015 "poor"

And Standard Chartered fell after the bank reported a net loss for 2015 due to bad loans to slowing Asian economies and the commodities industry. It ended the session at 406.85p per share, a 6.73 per cent slide.

"It's a horrendous headline number out on Standard Chartered. I'd still be a seller of any rallies on the stock because I am concerned about their exposure to China," said Beaufort Securities' sales trader Basil Petrides.

Persimmon made gains after it reported profits to have leaped. Its share price closed at 2,029p, a 2.84 per cent rise.

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