By Barbara Kollmeyer
Despite support from James Bond and Rolls-Royce, London’s main stock markets were struggling for footing on Monday.
The London FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.25% rose 0.1% to 7,060.16, while the FTSE 250 index /zigman2/quotes/210598417/delayed UK:MCX -0.49% was unchanged at 23,616. The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.2662% rose 0.1% to $1.3690.
Big energy names were in the lead, with shares of BP /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP +0.11% /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP +0.56% and Royal Dutch Shell up 2% and near 3%, respectively, as U.S. /zigman2/quotes/209723049/delayed CL00 -1.39% and Brent crude prices logged gains of more than 1.5% each. Goldman Sachs lifted its forecast for Brent to $90 by year end in a note to clients.
Those gains came as the U.K. was hit by yet another shortage in the energy space. Motorists rushed to fill their tanks over the weekend due to a supply disruption caused by too few truck drivers. The haulage industry has blamed that on the coronavirus pandemic, an aging workforce and the absence of foreign workers in wake of Brexit. The country is considering a visa change of those drivers to combat the problem .
Elsewhere, natural gas prices and electricity prices have been climbing amid intense global demand and shortages, along with electricity outages in the country. U.K. natural gas price futures for October deliver surged 9% to 191.74 pence a therm on Monday.
Also lending support on the main FTSE 100 index were shares of Rolls-Royce /zigman2/quotes/203646520/delayed UK:RR -0.98% , which was looking at its best one-day percentage gain — 9% — since December 2020. That came after the company announced a U.S. Air Force contract win for B-52 engines over the weekend.
And the smaller FTSE 250 index saw an 11% jump for shares of Cineworld /zigman2/quotes/206525056/delayed UK:CINE +7.89% ahead of the release of “No Time to Die,” the latest James Bond film that’s finally hitting big screens in the UK after a year and a half of delays. It’s expected to be the biggest opening weekend since the pandemic. The U.S. release date of the film is scheduled for early October.
The “return of Bond to the screens appears to have been the agent of change movie companies sorely needed. Business was severely shaken during the pandemic with screens shut and blockbusters delayed and there are early indications that Bond is already helping stir up a surge in much needed bookings,” said Susannah Streeter,Senior Investment and Markets Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, in a note to clients.