The FTSE 100 is set to tack on 0.1% today after shedding as much on Monday amid weakness in the mining and energy sector after oil and metal prices declined. Investors will be looking to a flurry of economic data that is due today, including US existing home sales and UK inflation.
US stocks rose yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.4%, the broader S&P 500 index added 0.5% and the technology heavy NASDAQ composite climbed 0.9%.
Asian markets were mixed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and South Korea’s KOSPI both added 0.55% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.9%, while Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 declined 0.5% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.7%
Specialist banking group Investec (LSE: INVP) and engineering firm Smiths Group (LSE: SMIN) led the blue chips with gains of about 2.5%. Miners Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) and part-nationalised bank Lloyds (LSE: LLOY) followed, tacking on 1.6%, while British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS) and engineering company Invensys (LSE: ISYS) were up 1.5%. Medical devices manufacturer Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN) was the only other FTSE 100 constituent to add more than 1%, climbing 1.3%.
Interdealer broker ICAP (LSE: IAP) was at the bottom of the index with a 2.6% loss. Commercial property company British Land (LSE: BLND) and plumbing and heating equipment manufacturer Wolseley (LSE: WOS) shed slightly more than 2%. Oil and gas producers Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW) and BG Group (LSE: BG) declined 2% and 1.8% respectively. Insurer Legal & General (LSE: LGEN) was down 1.5%.
Oil prices retreated after making gains overnight as May Brent Crude slid to US$80.25/barrel, while US light, sweet crude pulled back to US$81.31/barrel.
Precious metals inched higher to recoup a small part of yesterday’s losses. Gold improved to US$1,102/oz, while platinum reached US$1,603/oz. Silver continued falling, sliding to US$16.86/oz.
Base metals declined with copper and nickel falling to US$3.34/lb and US$10.02/lb respectively, while zinc held steady at US$1.01/lb.
Disclosure: The author holds no positions in the company