FTSE 100 Live 24 November: President Biden release of oil stocks, strategic petroleum reserve, energy market, Opec production, oil price, Brent crude, Virgin Money


Oil price defies White House intervention

Oil markets defied Joe Biden and other world leaders today as it became clear that tapping stockpiles for a few million extra barrels won’t make a difference to prices.

Brent crude futures remained above $82 a barrel today, having surged 3% last night on disappointment at the scale of the White House’s efforts to ease inflationary pressures.

As well as the 50 million barrels from US strategic reserves, Japan contributed 4.2 million but the overall figure barely meets one day of consumption. There are also fears the Opec cartel could respond next week by curtailing its own plans to increase production.

AJ Bell’s investment director Russ Mould said markets were unimpressed: “Strategic reserves are meant to be untouched unless there is a real shortage of oil, and there is certainly no emergency at present.

“Governments shouldn’t be dipping into them to try and control the market price. Also, the amount released is very small in the bigger scheme of things.”

The oil market resilience propped up shares in Royal Dutch Shell and BP, in turn lifting the FTSE 100 index by as much as 0.5% before it settled 6.62 points higher at 7273.50.

Blue-chip housebuilders contributed to the positive session, but the best performing stock of all was quality assurance firm Intertek after surging 6% on the back of a strong update.

Ladbrokes owner Entain and rival Flutter Entertainment were down on their luck after falling 2% and investors continued to dump Johnson Matthey shares following this month’s surprise exit from battery materials development.

The move cost the company £314 million in today’s half-year results, leaving the speciality chemicals firm £9 million in the red. Despite promising a £200 million buyback, shares still fell another 25p to 2157p.

The FTSE 250 index dipped 97.22 points to 23,123.61, with leisure-focused stocks easyJet, TUI and Cineworld among those under selling pressure.

Animal genetics group Genus slid 15%, down 790p to 4460p, after revealing that challenging market conditions in China will mean 2022 profits moderately lower than previous expectations.

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