Oil stocks send FTSE 100 to 7-week closing high, Anglo American sinks

By Shashwat Chauhan and Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) -The UK’s FTSE 100 closed at a seven-week high on Friday with a rebound in crude prices lifting shares of oil majors, though Anglo American slumped after the miner said it would slash capital expenditure in the face of weak demand.

The London-listed stock of Anglo American sank 19% to touch a three-year low and was the biggest decliner among the FTSE 100 stocks.

The miner said it aims to cut capital expenditure by $1.8 billion by 2026, and that it will reduce production at its South African unit Kumba Iron Ore, where iron ore stockpiles surged following worsening rail bottlenecks.

However, the blue-chip FTSE 100 closed up 0.5% and recorded its second consecutive week of gains.

Heavyweight energy stocks jumped 1.6% after Saudi Arabia and Russia called for more OPEC+ members to join output cuts, driving up crude oil prices. [O/R]

The focus next week shifts to a slew of central bank meetings, with investors awaiting key decisions from the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England (BoE) and the European Central Bank (ECB).

“The switch to what has become a “Table Mountain” approach to rate policy, or a higher-for-longer approach now appears to be the preferred messaging given that headline inflation along with wages is much higher in the UK even now,” noted Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

Hewson added that interest rate cuts by the BoE are likely to come well after the ECB starts cutting rates due to elevated inflation in the UK.

However, optimism that major central banks are done hiking rates sent the pan-European STOXX 600 to its highest close since February 2022 and New York’s S&P 500 near its highest level of 2023.

The domestically focussed FTSE 250 midcap index gained 0.5% to touch a near three-month closing high.

An RBC downgrade pulled cigarette and cigar producer Imperial Brands down by nearly 2%, while Sainsbury gained 1.6% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the supermarket group’s rating to “buy” from “neutral”.

(Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Shailesh Kuber)