Oil companies lead Ftse lower as crude prices fall

Britain’s top equity index edged lower yesterday, with a decline for commodities stocks such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell overshadowing gains in travel group TUI.

Oil companies lead Ftse lower as crude prices fall

The blue-chip Ftse 100 index closed down 0.3% at 6,550.74 points.

Oil producers and oilfield service providers led the losers as US crude oil prices dropped to their lowest in almost six-and-a-half years, with stockpiles and refinery shutdowns heightening fears about global oversupply.

“Ongoing commodity demand restraint in China alongside incremental supply growth out of OPEC and the US continue to be formidable market headwinds,” Goldman Sachs said in a note.

Royal Dutch Shell, Weir Group, and Tullow Oil all fell 1% to 2.6%, roughly in line with the Ftse 350 Oil & Gas Financial index.

BP fell 1% after a US judge on Thursday found that it had manipulated the natural gas market in 2008, as alleged by the US energy regulator.

Glencore slipped to touch an all-time low after the miner and commodity trading group said it had sold stakes in three mines for about $290m (€260m).

On the upside, TUI was the biggest blue-chip gainer after JP Morgan and Jefferies lifted their target price on the stock, sending the company up 4% after a jump in the previous session when it forecast earnings at the top end of analysts’ expectations.

The Ftse 100 rose to a record 7,122.74 points in late April but has since given up most of the gains it made in 2015.

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