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Market Wrap - Midday

BP and Shell push the FTSE higher

20 July 2017 11:52

Oil giants BP (BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) led the FTSE 100 higher, despite subdued oil prices.

BP and Royal Dutch Shell rallied 1.1% to 451.6p and £20.99. Both companies are among the biggest in terms of market cap, meaning any share price movements can impact the overall index.

Brent crude oil was flat at $49.76 per barrel. Copper was stable at $5,952 per tonne and gold cheapened 0.3% to $1,236 per ounce.

Following the approval of the Reynolds takeover by British American Tobacco (BATS) shareholders on Wednesday, the share price jumped by 2.4% to £53.93.

The FTSE 100 gained 0.6% to 7,478.

Retail sales increased by 1.5% in the three months to June 2017 according to the Office for National Statistics. This was a welcome bounce back from a 1.4% decline in the previous quarter of 2017.


The tech-heavy Nasdaq index hit an all-time high overnight of 6,385. Outside the Nasdaq index, US equities in the Dow Jones and S&P 500 made gains thanks to strong energy, tech and healthcare stocks.

Asian markets followed the US higher this morning with Japan's Nikkei 225 making the biggest jump of 0.6% to 20,144.


Ben & Jerry's-to-Marmite seller Unilever (ULVR) reported strong progress against the strategic objectives set out for 2020 and a 3% jump in underlying sales. The stock was steady at £43.40.

Low-cost airline EasyJet (EZJ) warned revenue per seat at constant currency for the six months to 30 September 2017 is expected to decline by around 2%, prompting investors to mark the shares 5% down to £13.42.

International distributor Bunzl (BNZL) made a binding offer for the acquisition of a group of businesses in France and purchased a marketing services business in the UK.

A solid performance at Howden Joinery (HWDN) was cheered by the market as the stock rose 1.5% to 433.6p. The kitchen supplier reported 4% year-on-year growth in the UK.

In the mining sector, Anglo American (AAL) failed to excite despite boosting copper production in the second quarter of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Shares in the company were flat at £11.28.

ConvaTec (CTEC) agreed to acquire US-based national distributor of catheter-related supplies Woodbury from MTS Health Investors for $120.5m.


FTSE 250 member (MONY) slumped 4.7% to 339.5p as it warned that operating profit would hit the lower end of consensus thanks to current trends in its energy division.

Sportswear retailer Sports Direct (SPD) was up 8% at 325p despite a near-60% drop in underlying pre-tax profit to 113.7m in the year to 30 April 2017.


Agricultural group Carr's (CARR) said the recovery in UK Agriculture is expected to continue and there are early positive indications of a revival in the US feed block market on the back of a gradual recovery in cattle prices. Shares in the company were up 1.9% to 140.5p.

IQE (IQE) was among the top small cap risers with a 16.8% rise to 99p after the firm anticipated revenues of £70m for the first half of 2017, reflecting increased sales in each of its three primary markets.

An impressive 20% jump in international sales at Mr Kipling cakes distributor Premier Foods (PFD) sparked a 2.4% share price rise to 39.7p.

The same could not be said for Mothercare (MTC) as its overseas business continued to drag on performance. The babywear retailer said challenging economic conditions in the Middle East continued and the outlook remained volatile. Investors were concerned about the outlook as the stock dropped 1.6% to 100.2p.

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