London markets were nervy again on Thursday, although the FTSE crept into the green, as rising oil prices and concern over higher interest rates knocked sentiment.
The bluechip FTSE 100 index ended 0.11 per cent higher at 7,601.85 although the midcap FTSE 250 index fell 0.68 per cent to 18,098.68.
“Concerns about tight supplies are fuelling the rise in oil prices, reigniting worries about inflation and the need for interest rates to stay higher for longer,” said Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“The psychologically important milestone of $100 a barrel is in sight, which is prompting concerns about higher energy costs being passed on by companies in the form of higher prices,” she continued.
Oil has soared after Saudi Arabia and Russia extended production cuts to the end of the year, but the latest stimulus for price rises was lower than expected stockpiles in the US.
Federal data showed that stockpiles at the storage facility in Cushing, Oklahoma, had fallen to nine-year lows.
On the FTSE 100, the rise in oil prices boosted Shell and BP which rose 1.2 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.
Resource giants also recorded solid performances, with Anglo American, Antofagasta and Rio Tinto all rising over two per cent.
At the other end Barratt Developments slumped 7.6 per cent while Phoenix fell just under seven per cent.
On the FTSE 250 William Hill owner 888 tumbled by more than 11 per cent after slashing its annual targets.
It now expects revenue for the year to come in lower than last year by mid-single digits. It said that revenue had been dented by a string of “customer friendly sports results” as well as tightening regulatory action.
Fellow midcap Mitchells & Butlers, which owns All Bar One, climbed 4.3 per cent after reporting that group sales were up 10.4 per cent on last year.
M&B chief executive Phil Urban said: “Cost headwinds are abating and remain at the bottom end of the range previously identified.”
Derren Nathan, head of equity research at Hargreaves Lansdown: “The out-performance against the rest of the market is impressive, particularly in a time when customers’ pockets are facing an unprecedented squeeze.
“Alongside the cheery update on sales, the news that cost pressures are starting to abate should also bring some comfort to investors,” Nathan continued.