MONDAY MARKET CLOSE: Ukraine woes dismissed

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Improved sentiment on Wall Street helped blue-chip shares shake off worries over the Ukraine and wipe out early session losses.

London’s FTSE 100 Index closed 22.1 points ahead at 6583.8 after US retail sales notched up their biggest increase since 2012.

Meanwhile, a better-than-expected set of results from Citigroup eased fears over America’s corporate profits that had earlier weighed on stocks.

It was also a strong session for commodities-based stocks after Glencore Xstrata announced a deal worth $5.85 billion (£3.5bn) to sell its interest in the Las Bambas copper mine in Peru to Chinese investors.

Glencore’s shares were 6.3p higher at 317.9p, while the read-across for other copper miners resulted in a rise of 17p to 842p for Chile’s Antofagasta.

The ongoing pressure on tech stocks meant chip designer Arm Holdings slipped another 4p to 954.5p while Imagination Technologies was 2.8p lower at 196.9p in the FTSE 250 index.

Defensive stocks were doing better, with drugs giant Reckitt Benckiser up 99p to 4833p, Imperial Tobacco ahead 27p to 2474p and Unilever rising 28p to 2663p.

Plant hire firm Ashtead was the biggest faller in the FTSE 100 Index as ongoing uncertainty over the outlook for the US economy impacted on sentiment surrounding its US arm Sunbelt. Shares fell 4 per cent or 38p to 842p.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Sainsbury’s up 16.9p to 326.5p, Tullow Oil up 32p to 859p, Randgold Resources up 170p to 4845p and Tesco up 8.3p to 289.4p

The biggest fallers were Hargreaves Lansdown off 50p at 1207p, Sports Direct down 30.5p to 740.5p, and Barratt Developments down 14.8p to 371.5p.