The UK’s top share index fell for a second day in a row on Tuesday, weighed down by large, dollar-earning consumer groups, though commodities stocks rose on reinvigorated oil prices.
Britain’s blue chip FTSE 100 index inched 0.2 percent lower to 7,284.94 points by 0854 GMT, underperforming a slightly positive European market, while mid caps slipped 0.4 percent thanks to some sharp, results-driven falls.
While a recent strengthening in the pound weighed on big consumer goods stocks such as British American Tobacco and Reckitt Benckiser, commodities-related sectors stemmed losses as Brent crude touched its highest level in more than two years before easing back.
Shares in oil heavyweights BP and Royal Dutch Shell rose around 0.4 percent. Oil firms have been hit hard this year by stubbornly low oil prices and concerns around developments in electric cars and cleaner fuels.
The broader UK oil & gas index .FTNMX0530 has lost around 4.3 percent this year.
“There are indeed the beginnings of the effect that these oil supply changes were meant to bring about, they’re finally starting to feed through,” Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index, said.
“Oil companies have made huge progress in terms of cost cuts, efficiency, deleveraging, but on the other hand we’ve had a really anaemic oil price trend,” Odeluga added.
Mining firms were also among the biggest gainers, with shares in Antofagasta, Glencore, Rio Tinto and Anglo American all rising around 0.5 percent to 1.6 percent thanks to a supportive copper price.
British mid caps saw some particularly sizeable moves following results, with shares in Card Factory, AA and Close Brothers all dropping from 5.9 percent to as low as 11.5 percent.
British greeting cards retailer Card Factory saw its first-half profit drop 14 percent and flagged the impact from a the fall in the pound after the Brexit vote and rising wage costs.
A warning about a more competitive environment weighed on lender Close Brothers, which also cited Brexit as a source of uncertainty.
In AA’s case, a plan to ramp-up capex spending sent its shares lower despite its results slightly beating expectations.
“We remain concerned that the business cannot generate sufficient cash flow to satisfy both debt and equity holders,” analysts at Jefferies said in a note.