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FTSE 100 closes lower as commodities stocks decline

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Via Yahoo Finance

London’s blue-chip index was lower on Wednesday after a hit to oil prices weighed on commodity stocks.

The FTSE 100 shed 51.32 points to close 0.68% lower at 7,471.75.

BP was among the biggest fallers, dropping 12.3p to 570.2p, while Royal Dutch Shell’s A shares were down 48p to 2,473p.

It came after a slump in oil prices earlier in the day as the US revealed higher levels of crude inventories.

Prices recovered towards the end of the day so that a barrel of Brent crude oil was trading at 74.42 US dollars, up 0.12%.

Mining stocks also took a hit, with Anglo American down 84.5p to 2,104.97p and Rio Tinto down 82p to 4,569.72p.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “The FTSE 100 reached another six-month high yesterday, and it was the mining and oil sectors that helped it reach that multi-month high, and today we are seeing a reversal of that.”

Meanwhile the pound was higher, rising 0.5% against the euro to 1.158. Sterling was also up 0.02% versus the dollar at 1.293.

The euro took a hit after the release of numbers showing lower business confidence in Germany, Europe’s largest economy.

Fiona Cincotta, market analyst at City Index, said the manufacturing sector had been particularly hard hit due to trade disputes and Brexit.

She added: “The pound is doing very little against other majors, enjoying the calm before the Brexit storm inevitably takes over again.”

In company news, online fashion retailer Boohoo unveiled a bumper profits haul as sales continued to surge at the fast-growing firm.

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The firm saw revenue grow 48% to £856.9 million in the year to February 28, and pre-tax profit jumped 38% to £59.9 million.

Turnover was up 37% in the UK and 64% in international markets.

Shares were 22.3p higher at 239.2p.

Primark notched up a surge in half-year profits as British shoppers continue to flock to the budget retailer.

The firm, owned by Associated British Foods (ABF), saw adjusted operating profit jump 25% to £426 million in the six months to March 2, while sales grew 4% to £3.6 billion.

ABF shares climbed 51p to 2,557p.

Aviva’s UK insurance boss Andy Briggs has stepped down amid a raft of changes following the appointment of group chief executive Maurice Tulloch.

His move to quit the role comes just weeks after he missed out on the top job.

Shares in Aviva dipped 2.8p to close at 422.8p.

Sainsbury’s was trading lower as rumours grew that its proposed mega-merger with Asda will be blocked by the UK’s competition watchdog this week.

The stock dropped 3.8p to 226.6p.

In Europe, the German Dax was 0.63% higher but the French Cac fell by 0.28%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Land Securities Group up 27.4p to 935.6p, Micro Focus up 51.5p to 935.6, NMC Health up 63p to 2,684p and Segro up 14.6p to 685.4p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Smurfit Kappa down 99p to 2,322p, Anglo American down 84.5p to 2,104.97p, WPP down 24.8p to 911.4p and BP down 12.3p to 570.2p.

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