FTSE 100 Index rises slightly as oil price drop hits commodity stocks – Belfast Telegraph

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The FTSE 100 Index was 11.1 points higher at 6169.2

The FTSE 100 Index was 11.1 points higher at 6169.2

London’s top flight index struggled for direction as commodity stocks came under pressure after the strong dollar sparked a drop in the price of oil.

The FTSE 100 Index was 11.1 points higher at 6169.2 as oil and mining giants weighed heavy on the market, with Anglo American sliding nearly 3% or 17p to 584.2p.

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Royal Dutch Shell was also 11p lower at 1678p, while BHP Billiton dropped back 14.3p to 803.9p and Rio Tinto was down 20.5p to 1933.5p, as Brent Crude fell 1.2% to 48.14 US dollars a barrel.

But Royal Mail was the biggest riser on the market, up close to 4%, after it was handed an upgrade from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).

Across Europe, Germany’s Dax was up 0.5% and the Cac 40 in France was down 0.2%.

The pound was 0.2% lower against the dollar at 1.453, as investors expect the US Federal Reserve to impose an interest rate hike in the near future.

The pound was also down against the euro at 1.297.

In stocks, Royal Mail was up 15.6p to 507.5p after the RBC lifted its recommendation for the company from underperform to perform as the coming months look set to shed light on the firm’s wage inflation and pension costs.

Elsewhere, travel stocks were rising as budget airline Ryanair said it would cut fares by 7% this year as annual profits soared by almost half.

The carrier, which is listed on the London and Dublin stock exchanges, said it expects to reduce fares as it bids to maintain market share across a European airline industry that has been hit by the terror attacks in Brussels and Paris.

The cuts in fares come as Ryanair posted profits after tax up 43% to 1.24 billion euro (£959 million) in the year to March compared with a year ago, just short of City forecasts of 1.3 billion euro (£1 billion).

Shares were up 0.1p to 13.4p, as British Airways-owner IAG and rival easyJet climbed 5.5p to 522p and 10p to 1478p respectively.

Insurance giant Legal and General also stepped up after it struck an agreement to acquire a £3 billion annuity portfolio from Aegon.

The deal, which covers 27,000 policyholders, is part of Aegon’s “strategic repositioning” of its British operations.

Shares rose 1.7p to 227.1p.