05 January 2019, News Wires — London’s blue-chip stocks climbed to their highest in more than two months on Monday as gains in oil shares and consumer staples offset deep losses in miners, while airline Ryanair slumped after a disappointing quarterly report.
The FTSE 100 index edged 0.2 percent higher to its highest since Dec. 4, extending a five-day winning streak, after the U.S. Fed’s cautious stance last week and consensus-busting U.S. jobs data boosted confidence.
But some gains in the exporter-heavy index evaporated as the pound handed back initial losses, while the more domestically focussed mid-cap index ended with a 0.2 percent gain.
Sterling gained after a newspaper reported that goods shipped to Britain from the European Union could be waved through without checks in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.
On Wall Street, stocks edged higher thanks to a boost from technology shares ahead of Alphabet’s results, while declines in healthcare and energy stocks weighed.
In contrast, British oil majors Shell and BP held on to gains and provided the most support for the main bourse as crude prices earlier hit their highest so far this year on OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela’s petroleum industry.
Cyclicals, such as miners, and dollar earners led the falls while consumer staples such as Unilever, Diageo – which are considered safe havens in times of economic and geopolitical stress – were in favour.
Miners broke a seven-day winning streak and suffered their worst one-day fall in more than 10 days as copper prices fell on concerns about slowing factory activity in China, which is the world’s biggest industrial metals consumer.
London-listed shares in Ryanair shaved some of the day’s losses to end down 2.3 percent after Europe’s biggest budget airline blamed falling fares for its quarterly loss and warned that overcapacity was likely to continue to pressure prices.
On the midcaps, iron ore pellet producer Ferrexpo slumped 8 percent after it said its auditors received bank statements from a charity, which was set up mainly to coordinate its corporate social responsibility programme, that contained “as yet unexplained discrepancies”.
Ferrexpo was the worst mid-cap faller, ending the day with steepest one-day decline in six months.
In single stock moves, supermarket chain Morrisons advanced nearly 2 percent to be among best FTSE 100 performers after Citigroup raised the rating to “neutral”.
Meanwhile, the broader picture remained bleak with multiple downbeat data from the world’s fifth-largest economy.
A survey by accountants Deloitte found that major British businesses’ appetite to take on financial risk has fallen to its lowest level in nearly a decade due to fears of “the hardest of Brexits” and rising U.S. protectionism.
Growth in Britain’s construction industry also dipped in January to its weakest in 10 months as Brexit uncertainty dragged on commercial building work, another survey showed.
Worries about Brexit were exacerbated by Nissan’s announcement over the weekend that it had scrapped plans to build its new X-Trail SUV in Britain, and its warning that uncertainty over Britain’s departure was making it harder to plan for the future.