FTSE Close: Mixed fortunes for UK stocks as blue-chips gain while mid-caps slip

The FTSE 100 rose while the domestically-focused FTSE 250 declined on Thursday, as hopes for cooling euro zone inflation buoyed stocks even as economic clouds gathered over smaller British firms.

The export-heavy FTSE 100 closed up 0.4% at 7,453.75 points, breaking its recent run of underperformance. The mid-cap FTSE 250 dropped 1.3% to finish at 18,233.47, and the AIM All-Share closed down 0.2%, at 713.78.

Leading ‘blue chip’ gainers, oil giants BP PLC (BP) and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (SHEL) rose 1.5% and 0.3% respectively, tracking Brent crude futures (LCOc1) that hit $84.57 a barrel, the highest since Nov. 7, before paring gains.

However, China-exposed miners like Glencore PLC (GLEN) lost ground, down 0.5%, while Asia-focused lender Standard Chartered PLC (STAN) climbed 2.0% amid hopes Chinese stimulus could aid demand.

NatWest Group PLC (NWG) initially climbed 1.3% before settling 0.2% higher after JPMorgan lifted the stock to ‘overweight’, while peer Metro Bank PLC (MTRO) gained 2.3% as it announced deeper cost cuts including slashing 20% of its workforce.

Among mid-caps, Auction Technology Group PLC (ATG) plummeted 23% as higher borrowing costs bit into annual profit, which dropped 23%. Iconic shoemaker Dr Martens PLC (DOC) tumbled 21% on downhill prospects in its key U.S. market.