Oil prices reach two-week high as US stockpiles decline


Oil prices reach two-week high as US stockpiles decline

Markets were mixed as global trade tensions persisted.

US stockpiles have fallen by more than expected (Danny Lawson/PA)
US stockpiles have fallen by more than expected (Danny Lawson/PA)

Oil prices have reached a two-week high following a report that showed a drop in crude inventories in the US.

The Energy Information Administration report showed US stockpiles declined by 5.83 million barrels, a far bigger drop than analysts were expecting.

This sent Brent crude upwards, with prices rising 2.1% to 74.311 US dollars a barrel during trading.

Markets put in a mixed performance as trade tensions between the US and both China and the EU continued to impact stock movements.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Chinese delegates are set to meet US representatives today to discuss trade. The meeting will hopefully lay the groundwork for a meeting between President Trump and the Chinese in November.

“European car makers are lower after Mr Trump threatened to impose a 25% tariffs on EU cars that are imported into the US. The announcement from the US President last night is a reminder to the markets as to how unpredictably he can behave.”

By the close, the FTSE 100 was up 0.11% or 8.54 points to 7,574.24, while the Cac in France rose 0.25% and the Dax in Germany was flat.

In currency markets, the US dollar weakened as traders mulled over Mr Trump’s comments about the Federal Reseve raising rates.

Sterling was up 0.05% against the dollar at 1.290, while the euro rose 0.17% against the dollar to 1.159.

The pound weakened against the euro, however, falling by 0.13% to 1.113.

In a quiet day for the corporate calendar, Capita said it had recruited Go-Ahead’s Patrick Butcher as its new finance chief to help the outsourcer with a radical transformation strategy.

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The group, the country’s biggest outsourcer, said Mr Butcher will join the company at the end of the year.

He will replace Nick Greatorex, who will step down from the board and leave Capita in September. Shares rose 1.7p during trading to 144.6p.

Laura Ashley revealed it barely broke even due to “difficult” trading and hefty writedowns on a property sold in Singapore.

The fashion and homewares retailer saw profits crash to just £100,000. Despite this, shares were up 1.08p at 5.4p by the close.

The group, which is famous for its floral print designs, saw annual statutory pre-tax profits tumble from £6.3 million the previous year as retail like-for-like sales slid 0.4%.

Debenhams’ shares rose 0.11p to 13.47p after it announced the appointment of former Domino’s Pizza executive as its new finance chief as the troubled retailer attempts to turn itself around.

The group said Rachel Osborne, who has also done stints at John Lewis and B&Q owner Kingfisher, will join Debenhams on September 17.

Avast raised its full-year margin guidance after posting solid revenue and profits growth in the first half, boosting shares by 7.4p to 237p.

The cybersecurity firm, which floated on the London Stock Exchange in May, saw adjusted earnings rise 11% to 222.1 million US dollars (£170 million) in the six months to June.

Adjusted revenue, excluding the impact of currency and discontinued business, rose 8.5% to 394.3 million US dollars (£305 million).

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado Group up 20.5p to 1,100p, Fresnillo up 16.6p to 946.8p, BHP Billiton up 25.4p to 1,636p and DS Smith up 7.5p to 504.2p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were NMC Health down 150p to 3,908p, Easyjet down 57.5p to 1,554.5p, Johnson Matthey down 109p to 3,533p and United Utilities down 9.8p to 735.6p.

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