Oil stocks came under pressure after the price of Brent crude fell below $80 a barrel for the first time since 2010 amid a further slowdown in China – the world’s biggest energy consumer.
Tullow Oil was the biggest faller among the top flight index, ending the session 28.8p, or 5.8 per cent, lower at 464p, while Royal Dutch Shell was not far behind, down 47p at 2,273p.
However, Ithaca Energy added 1.3 per cent to 78p after telling investors that it has protected itself against falling prices with a “significant quantity” of hedges at an average of $102 a barrel.
With oil down by a third since the summer, pressure is likely to intensify on Opec members to cut production at next week’s meeting in Vienna.
Nevertheless, IG market analyst Chris Beauchamp said “a hefty day of UK earnings means that the broader index is still posting good gains” and the FTSE 100 finished the day at 6,635.45, a rise of 24.41 points.
“Hopes of Chinese stimulus following underwhelming data this morning look a bit far-fetched, but with a paucity of real data it looks like the market is pleased to believe in the idea for the time being,” Beauchamp added.
As US-owned supermarket Asda reported a 1.6 per cent “step back” in third-quarter sales, rival Morrisons took a step forward and closed up 3.8p, or 2.2 per cent, at 176.8p. Online grocer Ocado was another strong gainer, rising 13.8p, or 4.5 per cent, to 321p.
Despite admitting its viewing figures have been disappointing, ITV added 4.5p to close at 205.1p as it predicted a strong rise in full-year advertising revenues. Meanwhile, BSkyB said it will change its name to Sky after completing its acquisitions in Italy and Germany. Shares in the satellite broadcaster ended the day down 12p at 850.5p.