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FTSE regains ground as oil prices settle

Although the geopolitical situation in the Middle East still remains extremely sensitive the lack of any major new development this morning has granted the stock markets some form of a reprieve. Brent crude is trading in a narrow range between $68 and $69, having settled from Monday’s 20% oil-attack induced spike but oil companies and utilities continue to trade higher. Pharmaceuticals and consumer goods firms like Unilever and Diageo are also helping the FTSE gain ground.

Sainsbury’s shares firm despite sales drop

It is a sign of the times that the latest sales figures for Sainsbury were headlined with “Sainsbury outperforms rivals.” What the headline didn’t mention is that the supermarket’s sales actually declined in the last three months and only the fact that they fell less than those of its peers earned the group this headline. 

In less Brexit-addled times Sainsbury’s shares would have actually declined on the news but this morning the supermarket’s shares managed to rise instead, up nearly 0.7%. Traders were less forgiving with Morrison (Wm) and Marks & Spencer, both of which are trading lower.

Sterling continues its long slow decline, slipping below 1.24 against the dollar and weakening 0.33% against the euro. Some exasperation with the pound is being relieved with a burst of activity in the oil currencies which have attracted far more traffic since the weekend attack on Saudi oil facilities with the likes of Norwegian krone and the Canadian dollar capitalising on the sharp spike in the oil price.

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