The FTSE 100 dipped 0.1% on Tuesday, weighed down by sliding oil prices that pressured heavyweight energy stocks.
Brent crude futures declined, prompting losses of 0.7% and 0.4% in oil giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell respectively. This dragged the UK’s energy sector down 0.6% overall.
The drop came as investors turned cautious ahead of Sunday’s OPEC+ meeting, when deeper production cuts may be discussed.
Gains in the mid-cap FTSE 250 index helped partially offset the FTSE 100’s decline. The FTSE 250 ticked up 0.1%, along with a 0.11 of a point rise in the AIM All-Share.
The exporter-heavy FTSE 100 was also pressured by a 0.2% rise in sterling versus the US dollar.
Cranswick shares jumped 3.5% after the FTSE 250-listed meat producer forecast annual profit at the upper end of analyst estimates.
However, fellow mid-cap UK Commercial Property REIT fell 0.7% after terminating merger talks with AIM-listed Picton Property Income. UK Commercial’s top holder Phoenix Life opposed the deal.
Outsourcer Capita surged 10% after announcing plans to cut around 900 jobs, aiming to deliver £60 million in annual cost savings. It expects a £27 million restructuring charge.
AO World gained 1.0% after the online electrical retailer lifted its annual profit view to £28-33 million from ~£28 million. It swung to a £13 million first-half profit.
On the economic front, UK borrowing was less than forecast in the first seven months of the financial year, Tuesday’s data showed.
The update comes ahead of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s fiscal statement on Wednesday, where tax cuts to boost growth are expected.