LONDON: London stocks closed lower on Tuesday as an early bounce in energy major BP faded with sliding oil prices, while online supermarket Ocado tumbled following bleak earnings forecast.
After gaining as much as 0.7% earlier in the session, the UK’s blue-chip FTSE 100 slipped 0.1%, and midcap stocks also ended the session 0.1% lower.
Shares in BP fell 2.4% after hitting their strongest since March 2020 earlier in the session following results that showed its highest profit in eight years in 2021.
“An early bump to its share price couldn’t be sustained, in part because the price of a barrel of Brent Crude slipped back a touch,” said Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell.
Rival Shell dropped 3.2%, tracking weakness in oil prices that shed about 3% before the resumption of US-Iran talks, which could revive an international nuclear agreement and allow more oil exports from the OPEC producer.
The biggest decliner on the FTSE was Ocado Group, which slumped 12.9% after it warned core earnings in 2022 would undershoot market expectations as it steps up investment in automated warehouses around the world.
The FTSE 100 index has outperformed the wider European STOXX 600 index so far this year, with help from more value-oriented sectors including miners, energy stocks and banking firms that were battered in the wake of the pandemic.
Among midcap stocks, software company Micro Focus plunged 10.9% to the bottom of the FTSE 250 index after reporting a fall in full-year core profit.
Bellway Plc gained 2.5% as it echoed its bigger rivals in saying it expected strong demand in the housing market to persist.
Renewable power generator and network operator SSE Plc slipped 0.2% despite upgrading its outlook for full-year 2021/22 adjusted earnings.