U.K. stocks closed with small gains Monday, but enough to log the best gains for the benchmark in more than a year, aided by advances in commodity shares.
The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.24% rose by 0.2% to end at 6,809.13. The blue-chip gauge scored its highest close since June 2015, according to FactSet data.
The index has climbed for three sessions in a row, moving up on Friday by 0.8%. Equities have been getting a lift from an aggressive monetary-stimulus package from the Bank of England and from better-than-expected U.S. jobs data last week.
“An uneventful start to the week means that markets are still searching for fresh drivers, but for now the [U.S.] nonfarm payrolls, which were encouraging on both the jobs and wages fronts, are sufficient unto the day,” said Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG, in a note.
Miners upbeat: Mining shares appeared to shrug off downbeat economic data from China, a key consumer of precious and industrial metals. Iron-ore producer BHP Billiton PLC /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -0.70% /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP +1.31% gained 3.3%, and platinum and copper producer Anglo American PLC /zigman2/quotes/201381512/delayed UK:AAL +0.86% rose 1.8%. Copper company Antofagasta PLC /zigman2/quotes/200173667/delayed UK:ANTO +1.60% picked up 3.3% as copper futures rose.
The moves came after the release of July trade data from China on Monday. Exports slid 4.4% from a year earlier, suggesting overseas shipments are dragging on the world’s second-largest economy. Exports were expected to drop 3.6%, according to a Wall Street Journal poll of analysts. Imports last month fell 12.5%, more than an estimated 8.9% decline.
“Today’s trade data disappointed, with stronger manufacturing activity among many of China’s key trading partners failing to lift export growth and import growth falling on the back of the renewed drop in global commodity prices,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics, in a note.
But looking ahead, “we are not overly concerned about the immediate prospects for China, despite today’s disappointing data,” he wrote. “While we think the worst is probably over for many markets, global growth is likely to remain lackluster well into next year.”
Oil: Meanwhile, energy shares stepped higher as oil futures /zigman2/quotes/209726633/delayed CLU26 0.00% jumped more than 2%. The rise in crude futures came after reports that several members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are pushing for a deal to freeze production to boost prices. OPEC will hold informal talks at an energy conference in September.
Shares of oil major BP PLC /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP -2.00% gained 0.7%, while Royal Dutch Shell PLC /zigman2/quotes/204253697/delayed UK:RDSB -0.55% /zigman2/quotes/207682964/composite RDS.B -1.50% shares tacked on 1%.
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Movers: Other movers on Monday included Barclays PLC /zigman2/quotes/208409333/delayed UK:BARC -2.53% , with shares of the lender up 3.6% following reports of a ratings upgrade at Exane BNP Paribas.
On the downside, Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC /zigman2/quotes/204872832/delayed UK:HIK +0.61% fell 4.2%, and drugmaker Shire PLC lost 2.2%.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.1079% traded at $1.3039 compared with $1.3079 late Friday in New York.