FTSE positive at close amid Chinese relaxation of Covid curbs

The FTSE outperformed its European rivals on Monday as the markets considered the tentative moves from China towards reopening its economy.

Commodity and financial stocks in London benefited during a broadly cautious session, although the top index finished below intraday highs after Wall Street opened for trading.

The FTSE 100 finished the day up 11.31 points, or 0.15%, at 7,567.54.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “It’s been a mixed start to the week as investors look towards the recent change of emphasis on a reopening of China’s economy away from its zero-Covid approach.

“This more pragmatic approach to Covid by the Chinese government appears to be prompting optimism about the pace of a possible reopening with the likes of Prudential seeing further gains on top of last week’s strong performance, and helping to provide an uplift to the FTSE 100.

“Optimism over metals demand has also seen a strong day for miners with Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Glencore edging higher.”

Across the Channel, the other major European indexes had weaker sessions as traders continue to worry about interest rate rises.

The German Dax declined 0.41% by the end of the session and the French Cac finished 0.54% lower.

In the US, the main indexes opened slightly lower as investors continued to digest last Friday’s payroll report and the rise in yields.

Meanwhile, sterling retreated after hitting a five-month high against the dollar on Friday, with warnings from CBI that investment is needed by the Government to spark growth knocking back sentiment.

The pound was down 0.89% against the dollar at 1.217 and was 0.63% lower against the euro at 1.158 at the close.

In company news, Vodafone inched lower as it revealed boss Nick Read will step down at the end of the year just weeks after unveiling an £880 million plan to slash costs and warning over job cuts.

Mr Read will leave on December 31 after four years as group chief executive, but will remain an adviser to Vodafone’s board until March 31.

Shares in the company were down 0.12p at 91.02p at the close of play.

Drinks firm AG Barr made gains after it bought energy drink business Boost in a deal worth up to £32 million.

AG Barr is acquiring Boost, which was founded in 2001, from founder Simon Gray, who will continue to lead the business, and his wife Alison. The Irn-Bru maker closed 33p higher at 538p.

Cineworld improved in value after it told Bloomberg it intends to emerge from bankruptcy intact following reports rival Vue was considering a takeover move for the troubled firm. It was up 0.095p at 4.895p.

The price of oil pulled back slightly after OPEC+ decided to keep current production levels unchanged.

Brent crude oil decreased by 0.48% to 85.16 US dollars per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 were: Prudential, up 55p at 1,085.5p; Rio Tinto, up 87p at 5,671p; Anglo American, up 41p at 3,337p; Haleon, up 3.55p at 295p; and Frasers Group, up 10.5p at 898.5p.

The biggest fallers in the session were: London Stock Exchange Group, down 292p at 7,980p; Entain, down 33.5p at 1,364p; Hargreaves Lansdown, down 17.4p at 854.4p; M&G, down 3.75p at 186.8p; and Burberry, down 40p at 2,124p.