By Jack Denton
Metals and mining stocks were the worst-performing sector on London’s FTSE 100 index on Tuesday, as a fall in copper and iron prices weighed on a basket of major producers listed in the U.K.
Shares in Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/208934945/delayed UK:RIO +0.90% , BHP /zigman2/quotes/203323256/delayed UK:BHP +1.02% , Anglo American /zigman2/quotes/201381512/delayed UK:AAL +3.55% , Antofagasta /zigman2/quotes/200173667/delayed UK:ANTO -2.65% , and Glencore /zigman2/quotes/201400686/delayed UK:GLEN +3.35% — which are all major miners of copper or iron — fell sharply in London trading. The price of copper /zigman2/quotes/210054311/delayed HG00 +3.18% was down 1.5% on Tuesday and iron ore futures for April were near 6% lower.
The industrial metals fell in price as other commodities, including precious metals, surged. The prices of gold /zigman2/quotes/201432642/composite GOLD +1.57% and silver /zigman2/quotes/210315219/delayed SI00 +0.32% were both higher, and shares in Fresnillo /zigman2/quotes/201300065/delayed UK:FRES +0.53% — a major gold miner and the world’s largest silver producer — jumped near 2.5% in London to leave the other miners behind.
In wider trading, the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.76% , the index of London’s top stocks by market capitalization, rose 0.7%, continuing the momentum from Monday’s rally.
“The FTSE 100 made a steady but unspectacular start to trading on Tuesday — likely a relief to investors who have seen some big gains and substantial losses in recent days as levels of panic over rising inflation have ebbed and flowed,” said Russ Mould, an analyst at AJ Bell.
“Monday’s significant rally suggested that noises from central bankers aimed at calming fears about spiraling bond yields and rising prices had succeeded in giving investors the comfort blanket they needed to start buying again,” Mould added.
Elevated oil prices put London-listed major oil companies on the other side of the commodities seesaw. Benchmark Brent crude was around 0.9% higher, hovering just below the $69 per barrel mark after touching $70 on Monday. Shares in BP /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP -0.30% and Royal Dutch Shell /zigman2/quotes/206428183/delayed UK:RDSA +0.60% were lifted to carry on gains from Monday.
Shares in British television channel ITV /zigman2/quotes/205378065/delayed UK:ITV +0.24% opened near 7% lower, but buoyed back up to settle near 3% higher, following full-year earnings results. Group revenues fell 16% across 2020, while operating profit slumped more than 33% amid production disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a decline in advertising business. ITV aired the blockbuster Oprah Winfrey interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Monday.
Domino’s Pizza Group /zigman2/quotes/203506006/delayed UK:DOM +0.31% , the midcap FTSE 250-listed U.K. franchisee of the American pizza company, was a standout in London trading. The shares climbed as high as 15%, settling up around 9%, after full-year results firmly beat expectations. The company also announced returns to investors to the tune of £88 million through a dividend and share buyback program.
“We might not have been able to hit the bars, clubs and firework displays on New Year’s Eve but that didn’t stop people treating themselves to a small slice of luxury, judging by comments from Domino’s Pizza,” Mould said.