By Barbara Kollmeyer
Mining stocks drove gains for the FTSE 100 on Wednesday, after Goldman Sachs lifted shares of Glencore to buy. Shares of major oil companies also rose after an upbeat demand forecast from the International Energy Agency.
The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.67% rose 0.4% to 6,921.27, while the smaller FTSE 250 /zigman2/quotes/210598417/delayed UK:MCX +0.38% index gained 0.3%. The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.0354% rose 0.3% against the dollar to $1.3789. The FTSE was outperforming the Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.46% which rose 0.2%.
Shares of AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN -0.51% /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +0.83% were among the gainers, rising 1.7%. The drug company said its Tagrisso drug used to treat early lung cancer has been approved for use in China. Elsewhere, the news feed was less upbeat after Denmark became the first country to stop using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine altogether, over a potential link to a rare blood clot.
“Based on the scientific findings, our overall assessment is there is a real risk of severe side effects associated with using the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca. We have, therefore, decided to remove the vaccine from our vaccination program,” said the Danish health authority’s director general Søren Brostrøm, in a press statement .
On the downside, shares of Tesco /zigman2/quotes/203761082/delayed UK:TSCO +0.96% fell nearly 2%, after the grocer reported a fall in pretax profit for fiscal 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic boosted costs, but it said it expects improved profitability in fiscal 2022 on lower spending.
“There hasn’t been a bigger live stress as that experienced by supermarkets over the past 13 months and Tesco and others will have learned valuable lessons in how to operate under intense pressure,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.
“That should provide benefits in the longer term, but for now Tesco shareholders will have to make the most of the small bone they’ve been thrown. The supermarket’s decision not to cut the dividend despite falling profits is a small token of its thanks, but some investors will no doubt still feel disappointed,” Mould said.
Heavily-weighted miner Glencore /zigman2/quotes/201400686/delayed UK:GLEN +2.78% topped the gainers list, with a 4% gain after Goldman Sachs upgraded it to buy from neutral. Other miners also gained, with Anglo American /zigman2/quotes/201381512/delayed UK:AAL +1.59% /zigman2/quotes/203605158/composite NGLOY +1.49% up 2.4% and BHP Group /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -0.16% /zigman2/quotes/203323256/delayed UK:BHP +0.99% up 2%.
Elsewhere in the commodity space, energy companies BP /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP +1.08% /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP -2.44% and Royal Dutch Shell /zigman2/quotes/201538663/delayed NL:RDSA +0.56% saw their shares rise 1.4% each. In its monthly report, the International Energy Agency raised its annual forecast for global oil demand in 2021 by 230,000 barrels a day to an increase of 5.7 million barrels a day. Earlier in the week, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries increased its 2021 demand forecast by 100,000 barrels a day.