The FTSE 100 nudged into positive territory on Friday in a muted end to the week, with big oil helping to offset falls in commodity-related stocks. BP (BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) rose 1.7% and 1.3% to 342.4p and £16.514 respectively, tracking firmer crude prices after OPEC+ said it would review supply additions ahead of its next scheduled meeting if the Omicron variant dents demand.

Miners Anglo American (AAL) and Rio Tinto (RIO) led the FTSE 100 loser board with rough 1.5% declines.

Yesterday, US markets stormed ahead as Omicron nerves settled on initial indications that the new variant is very contagious, but less severe symptom-wise. Whether that is the case or not remains to be seen and omicron sentiment will continue driving swings in market direction into next week.

The Dow Jones rallied 1.8% to 34,460 and the S&P 500 added 1.4% to close at 4,577. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite ended the day 0.8% ahead at 15,150.10.

The FTSE 100 is set for a 1.8% weekly gain, recovering some of the losses seen last week when fears around the newly detected coronavirus variant gripped global stock markets.

At 9am, the benchmark index is 0.2% ahead at 7,141.87.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 advanced 0.5% to 22,807.98, with travel stocks among the best performers. For the week so far, the index is up 1.3%.

OMICRON BOUNCE STOCKS

Going well in the early action are stocks that are especially sensitive to the prospects of further lockdown measures. British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG), up 2.9% at 136.12p, is the top riser, while aerospace engineer Rolls-Royce (RR.) is 1.5% heavier at 127.32p.

Insurer Prudential (PRU) rose 2.1% and Legal & General (LGEN) inched up after German peer Allianz raised its targets for shareholder returns for the 2022 to 2024 period.

Hospitality stocks, such as contract caterer Compass (CPG) and hotelier InterContinental Hotels (IHG) are also in demand, up 1.8% and 1.5% respectively at £15.215 and £46.16 each.

DIY retailer Wickes (WIX) PLC has hammered out an 8% gain at 232.2p after lifting full-year profits guidance.

Mining company Hochschild Mining (HOC) touted progress on plans to spin-off Aclara Resources with latter pricing its initial public offering ahead of its public market debut in Canada next week. Its shares were flat at 127.3p.

SMALLCAP WRAP

Beowulf Mining (BEM:AIM) led the AIM leader board with a 22% advance to 8.875p as hopes rise of a change of attitudes in Sweden towards mining projects.

Duke Royalty (DUKE:AIM) gained 4% to 45.75p as it raised its outlook on full-year performance after reporting a rise in first-half profit as income jumped.

Gold exploration company Mila Resources (MILA) rallied more than 6% to 2.5p after it started drilling at the Kathleen Valley gold project in Western Australia.

Alba Mineral Resources (ALBA:AIM) made 1.5% gains at 0.16p after its portfolio company, GreenRoc Mining, announced strong assay results from a drilling campaign at the Amitsoq graphite project in Southern Greenland.

The new data added further confirmation of the high-grade nature of the deposit and the potential for a ‘sizeable’ JORC Resource.

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Issue Date: 03 Dec 2021