At the close: Gushing oil pushes the FTSE 100 higher as miners slip after recent gains

Billy Bambrough
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Oil And U.S. Gas Prices Reach All-Time High
Royal Dutch Shell was the biggest gainer on the FTSE 100 today as oil climbed and it announced further cuts (Source: Getty)

The FTSE 100 managed a modest rise today, falling back from much bigger gains directly after the open.

The blue-chip index added 0.2 per cent to close at 6,284.53.

The initial burst came as a result of Royal Dutch Shell earmarking 10 per cent of its oil and gas production assets for sale, which would result in the oil giant exiting between five and 10 countries.

The company has previously announced plans to ditch around $30bn (£20.7bn) worth of assets by the end of its 2018 financial year in a bid to re-jig its balance sheet following its acquisition of BG earlier this year.

Shell's shares closed up three per cent.

Also driving the market was the knock on effect from US Fed chair Janet Yellen, who yesterday all but ruled out a US interest rate hike in June.

Shell rival BP climbed 1.3 per cent as the oil price hit new recent highs. Brent crude, the global benchmark, swelled 1.2 per cent to $51.17 per barrel this afternoon, after hitting an intra-day peak of $51.30 earlier, its highest since October.

Read more: Oil and gas firms are struggling as the industry braces for fresh job cuts

West Texas Intermediate crude, the US benchmark, jumped one per cent to $50.22. It touched a fresh 2016 peak of $50.37, also its highest since last October.

Elsewhere rises were wide-spread. IG analyst Chris Beauchamp said:

Gains in London have been broad-based, although after a strong performance in recent days key mining names are taking a break. Royal Dutch Shell sits happily at the top of the index, after a pleasing update that indicates the firm will continue with transforming itself into a leaner operation.

Bargain hunters have alighted on Next, with the shares pushing 2.5% higher, on the basis that it looks a lot cheaper now, at around 12 times earnings, than it has done since late 2012. While it may not offer the same potential for returns as it did some four years ago, the chance to buy a solid business at an arguably cheap valuation has clearly been too much for some to pass up.

At the opposite end of the FTSE 100 miners gave up some of their recent gains. Anglo American, Glencore, and Antofagasta made up the bottom three FTSE 100 stocks, losing between 2.2 per cent and three per cent.

Read more: Collective net loss for the “top 40” miners stood at $27bn in 2015

Metal prices climbed down from their recent gains. Lead fell 1.9 per cent to $1,709 a tonne, tin slid 0.3 per cent to $16,900 a tonne and nickel lost one per cent to $8,580 a tonne.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange ended down 2.6 per cent at $4,568 a tonne. Copper yesterday hit its highest price since 12 May.

A softer dollar is expected to offset some of the negative sentiment created by weak demand growth in top consumer China.

Read more: Rio Tinto launches $3bn bond buyback as commodities brighten

Among mid-caps, shares in Sports Direct, which fell from the FTSE 100 earlier this year, climbed by 5.4 per cent as owner Mike Ashley gave evidence to MPs over the company's employment practices.

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