Belfast Telegraph

FTSE 100 up following commodity stocks rally

London's top flight index was in positive territory as commodity stocks rallied amid rising oil prices and the fading chance of a US interest rate hike in June.

The FTSE 100 Index was 43.1 points ahead at 6252.4 thanks to a bullish performance from commodities, after Brent crude climbed 1.2% to 50.22 US dollars a barrel.

Oil and mining stocks were also cheered on by Friday's worse-than-expected US non-farm payroll figures, which dealt a blow to a possible rate rise from the US Federal Reserve this month.

Anglo American and Rio Tinto were in the ascendency, soaring nearly 8% and 5% respectively, as investors warmed to the idea of commodities enjoying cheaper borrowing costs for longer.

Across Europe, Germany's Dax was up 0.3% and the Cac 40 in France edged slightly lower, down 0.1%.

Brexit fears continued to take their toll on the pound, with sterling slumping to fresh lows in morning trading after two polls showed rising support among voters for leaving the European Union.

The pound hit a three-week low against the dollar, falling as much as 0.9% to 1.43 US dollars. A YouGov poll showed that 45% of voters now favour Brexit, with 41% opting to remain. Brexiters were also ahead in an Observer/Opinium poll by 43% to 40%.

But the pound later regained some poise, down 0.4% against the dollar at 1.445. Sterling was also down 0.4% against the euro at 1.271.

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, said more volatility should be expected in the weeks ahead.

He added: "With both sides likely to step up their game over the next couple of weeks, I imagine we'll see a lot more volatility in the pound, and the closer the polls get, or if 'Vote Leave' continues to push ahead, the pound may find itself back towards April's lows before too long."

In stocks, Anglo American was up 44.8p to 662.8p, Rio Tinto rose 105p to 2000p and BHP Billiton stepped up 44.5p to 878.5p. Royal Dutch Shell was 28p higher at 1711p and BP climbed 6.4p to 364.9p.

Airlines were experiencing a bumpy ride after low-cost carrier easyJet saw its load factor - the measure of how full its flights are - fall back in May.

The firm said its load factor dipped slightly, by 0.1% to 91.5% last month compared with 12 months ago, as it felt the force of 173 cancellations driven by the French air traffic control strikes and the EgyptAir crash on May 19.

However, the Luton-based airline said it carried 6.9 million travellers in May, 5.7% more than a year ago.

Shares were down 19p to 1505p, while British Airways owner IAG was the biggest faller on the market, falling more than 1% or 7.5p to 522.5p.

Concerns over a potential British exit from the European Union were also weighing on housing stocks.

Charles Church owner Persimmon was 24p lower at 2033p, Barratt Developments tumbled 6.5p to 571.5p and Taylor Wimpey slipped 1.8p to 188.7p.