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Oil prices slump despite extended production cut

25 May 2017 17:00

The price of Brent crude oil dropped by 3% to $52.33 despite the decision by oil producers cartel OPEC to extend a production cut by nine months.

A lack of blue-chip news kept the FTSE 100 static at 7,517, although weakness in two of the index's biggest members, oil producer BP (BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) had threatened to drag it lower.

On a macro level, UK economic growth slowed to 0.2% in the first quarter of 2017 as household spending declined thanks to inflationary pressures.

Ice cream-to-mayonnaise seller Unilever, which was one of the top risers on the FTSE with a 1.1% gain to £42.58, recently passed on extra input costs to consumers through higher seller prices.

Gold advanced 0.3% to $1,256 per ounce and copper rallied by nearly 1% to $5,732 per tonne.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

US equities were still buzzing on expectations of an interest rate hike in June after the Federal Reserve hinted at the possibility late on Wednesday. Strong results from retailers Sears and Best Buy also supported investor sentiment as the S&P 500 opened 0.5% higher at 2,416.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

A negative broker note dragged BT (BT.A) 1.3% lower to 312.6p. The research note from Exane downgraded the stock to 'underperform' and said the telecoms provider should cut its dividend by 30% to help boost cash for future growth.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

It was a bad day for oil and gas firm Petrofac (PFC) as it plummeted 30.4% to 428.4p following the suspension of its chief operating officer Marwan Chedid. In May, UK authorities launched an investigation into the firm on suspicion of bribery, corruption and money laundering.

Dog food seller-to-vet practices group Pets at Home (PETS) finally saw its share price in positive territory, having struggled on the stock market for the past year or so. Investors warmed to its full year results which included a 5.8% hike in pre-tax profit to £95.4m. Its stock rose 1.9% to 163.6p.

Food ingredients specialist Tate & Lyle (TATE) soured 2.3% to 771.7p despite boosting its pre-tax profit by a fifth to £271m in the year to 31 March. Investors were possibly underwhelmed by a 2% rise in sales when currency changes were stripped out.

In the retail sector, Halfords (HFD) accelerated 2.8% to 369p as like-for-like sales improved and the company gained more market share in both motoring and cycling.

Hungarian budget airline Wizz Air (WIZZ) announced record annual profit of €246m in the year to March. It guided for current financial year profit guidance of between €250m and €270m, helping the stock fly 11.8% up to €21.75.

The gambling sector was also in focus Foxy Bingo brand owner GVC (GVC) reported strong trading in its first quarter continued into the second quarter. The shares rose 1.8% to 778.5p.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

In the investment sector, Starvest (SVE) soared 89% to 4.2p after saying one of the investee companies, Ariana Resources (AAU), had started producing gold at its Kiziltepe mine in Turkey. This share price reaction seemed odd, given that Ariana had told the stock market in March that it had begun production.

It appeared that Minds + Machines (MMX) put itself up for sale after appointing investment bank Headwaters MB to review various strategic options following several informal approaches. Shares in the company gained 17.8% to 11.1p.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

Related Company: BT.A

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