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(Sharecast News) - London's blue chip stocks were dragged into the red by oil companies and miners, while life insurers and Brexit-sensitive sectors such as retailers and housebuilders were noticeable on the upside.
Even though crude oil prices were little moved, with a barrel of Brent still costing around $60, heavyweights BP and Shell were both down more than 1%. As the pair have a heavy weighting on the FTSE 100, they were a major reason why the index was in the red, while the more UK focused FTSE 250 was up.
US oil inventories were weaker than expected but crude oil stockpiles fell less than the market anticipated. Meanwhile, and more significant, the Energy Information Administration forecast (https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=38032) that surging domestic production will result in the US becoming a consistent net oil exporter in the second half of next year, which would exert extra pressure on oil prices.
However, the EIA forecast that oil prices will "remain lower than during most of 2018" and then "rise gradually" over the year and into 2020 because of an increase in refinery demand for light-sweet crude oil, such that Brent will average $65 per barrel in 2020.
Life insurers were the top risers on Wednesday, continuing their recent rally after falling to around two-year lows last month.
Following not far behind by retailers and housebuilders, picking up as they are sectors that are seen as particularly sensitive to Brexit progress.
An extension to Article 50 was, for Credit Suisse, "highly likely" and would be a "positive development as it would avoid a cliff edge Brexit at the end of March".
Prime Minister Theresa May's speech after her House of Commons defeat that she will attempt to find common ground through a process of cross-party discussions, should yield a soft Brexit outcome, Credit Suisse's Sonali Punhani said, though she said it will "take time and political uncertainty and stress".
Top performing sectors so far today
Life Insurance 7,210.26 +2.02%
Forestry & Paper 20,449.25 +1.51%
General Retailers 2,052.23 +1.45%
Industrial Transportation 2,279.64 +1.36%
Automobiles & Parts 6,946.25 +0.99%
Bottom performing sectors so far today
Industrial Metals & Mining 4,401.22 -2.84%
Leisure Goods 7,981.36 -2.59%
Food Producers & Processors 6,812.17 -1.52%
Oil & Gas Producers 8,611.99 -1.45%
Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology 13,935.40 -1.21%
FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,868.11 -0.39%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 18,472.18 0.23%
techMARK (TASX) 3,349.37 -0.67%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Persimmon (PSN) 2,316.00p 5.22%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 162.75p 4.83%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 520.40p 4.39%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 254.40p 3.96%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 285.10p 3.33%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 613.73p 3.11%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,204.50p 2.95%
Aviva (AV.) 412.30p 2.74%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,901.50p 2.53%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 794.56p 2.47%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Pearson (PSON) 910.20p -6.80%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 5,961.00p -4.65%
Evraz (EVR) 459.40p -3.71%
Fresnillo (FRES) 890.54p -3.14%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,174.00p -2.55%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,479.80p -1.91%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 166.20p -1.74%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,357.00p -1.67%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,011.44p -1.64%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,817.00p -1.57%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Metro Bank (MTRO) 2,048.00p 9.64%
Capita (CPI) 120.00p 6.76%
Halfords Group (HFD) 240.60p 4.43%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 966.80p 4.32%
William Hill (WMH) 170.70p 4.28%
Royal Mail (RMG) 285.90p 4.19%
Charter Court Financial Services Group (CCFS) 275.00p 4.17%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,204.50p 3.79%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 440.30p 3.50%
Bellway (BWY) 2,878.00p 3.23%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 162.60p -6.01%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 260.00p -6.00%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 784.00p -3.80%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 315.60p -3.78%
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 3,190.00p -2.89%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 221.25p -2.75%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 159.80p -2.68%
Bodycote (BOY) 763.50p -2.68%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,808.00p -2.59%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 247.00p -2.56%
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