Resource stocks recovered on Friday following an uptick in metal prices while Smith & Nephew shares spiked on takeover rumours, yet primary London indices still ended the week in negative territory trailing declines on Wall Street.
The FTSE 100 ended 0.82% or 50.12 points lower at 6,052.42 points, while the FTSE 250 was 0.42% or 71.41 points lower at 17,105.87. At 1649 GMT, the Brent front-month futures contract was up 1.13% or 42 cents at $37.48 per barrel, while WTI was 1.34% or 47 cents higher at $35.42 per barrel, with a weaker dollar boosting prices.
Base metals also recovered across the board. In late afternoon trading on the London Metal Exchange, the three-month copper delivery futures contract was up 2.8% to $4,674 per metric tonne. Additionally, primary aluminium (up 1.8%), nickel (up 1.2%), lead (up 3.1%), tin (broadly flat) and zinc (up 2.0%) futures were also in positive territory.
Precious metals also recovered with the COMEX gold futures contract recovering from six-year lows to post an uptick of 1.44% or $15.10 at $1,064.70 an ounce, while spot gold was 1.49% or $15.70 higher at $1,066.80 an ounce. Away from gold, COMEX silver rose 2.97% or 41 cents to $14.11 an ounce, while spot platinum rose 2.03% or $17.15 at $860.93 an ounce.
In line with metal prices, Anglo American (up 5.73%), BHP Billiton (up 2.46%) and Randgold Resources (up 1.36%) were among the FTSE 100’s biggest gainers. However, BG Group (down 4.00%) bucked the wider resource stocks uptick to end the week on a negative note, despite receiving approval from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to construct and operate a natural gas liquefaction and export facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
The FTSE 100 story of the session belonged to medical stock Smith & Nephew (up 4.64%), as Street Insider reported it maybe a takeover target for US-based Stryker. Although rumours about just such a transaction had been percolating through markets for a long time, they had not lost their power to influence the share price of both companies.
Elsewhere, Sports Direct was a little firmer after it put out a statement hitting back at allegations made in the Guardian last week. Finally, GlaxoSmithKline was in focus after its HIV business reached a couple of deals with Bristol-Myers Squibb to acquire its late-stage HIV research and development assets as well as its portfolio of pre-clinical and discovery stage HIV research assets.
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