Monday, December 4

Oil stocks lift FTSE 100, Pets at Home slumps on rating cut

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UK’s top share index rose on Monday as stable crude prices boosted oil stocks, while investors awaited the earnings season to pick up pace to assess the hit to profits from surging prices and higher interest rates.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 rose 1% and the domestically focussed FTSE 250 index slipped 0.1%, with overall trading volumes lightened by a US holiday.

Both the indexes started the second half of 2022 on a subdued note on Friday after a rough first six months on worries that aggressive rate hikes would trigger a global recession.

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Oil majors BP and Shell on Monday rose 3.1% and 2.0%, respectively, as crude priced edged higher on concerns about tight supplies amid lower OPEC output, unrest in Libya and sanctions on Russia.

“A small bounce back in the oil price was enough to give BP and Shell a lift and provide welcome support to the FTSE 100 index,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“Fundamentally, supplies continue to be tight and there is still enough economic activity to stop oil prices slumping. However, lingering recession fears could act as a ceiling on the oil price.”

While the global nature of the FTSE 100 has helped it outperform world stocks in 2022, worries about slowing economy and surging prices have hurt the FTSE 250 index. It is down more than 20% this year compared to a 2.1% drop in FTSE 100.

Grafton Group dropped 7.2% and weighed on the mid-cap index, after the building materials supplier said Gavin Slark would step down as chief executive on Dec. 31.

Ryanair slipped 0.4% even as the Irish airline reported its busiest month ever in June as it flew 15.9 million passengers.

Pets at Home Group Plc tumbled 11.4% after Royal Bank of Canada downgraded the pet care retailer’s stock to “underperform.” (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Arun Koyyur)