By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
The FTSE 100 struggled to capture positive ground on Thursday, with gains from the mining sector lifting the index higher, while energy names tugged the other way.
Many investors were distracted by an important European Central Bank meeting, but the U.K. index clung to gains. Helping out were signs of easing tensions between the U.S. and China, after President Donald Trump tweeted that he will delay implementing higher tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods for two weeks as a “gesture of good will.”
What that did for London was lift commodity producers such as Glencore /zigman2/quotes/201400686/delayed UK:GLEN -4.72% and Anglo American /zigman2/quotes/201381512/delayed UK:AAL -0.67% , up 2% and 1.2%, respectively.
Of stocks in focus, shares of British American Tobacco /zigman2/quotes/207081878/composite A +1.67% climbed 3% after the company said it would lay off 2,300 employees by 2020 in a bid to streamline its operations. The London Stock Exchange /zigman2/quotes/206625606/delayed UK:LSE -2.45% slipped 0.1% after the Financial Times reported the group would reject a nearly $40 billion (30 billion pounds) buyout offer from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.
Shares of Wm. Morrison Supermarkets /zigman2/quotes/205533138/delayed UK:MRW +0.38% was a top gainer for the index, up 3.5% after the retailer said profit rose 49% in the first half of fiscal 2020, and said its partnership with Amazon.com /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +1.72% will be extended.