Market report

Oil price up on MidEast tension | Frasers Boohoo boost

Oil and gas

Oil prices have risen above $91 a barrel as markets observe an unfolding crisis in the Middle East.

Investors are concerned that the Israel-Hamas war could spread to a region-wide conflict and squeeze supplies.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose as high as $91.2 a barrel in Asia trading while West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, briefly rose to $87.98.

Israel has told more than a million people to leave northern Gaza ahead of an air, sea and ground offensive in retaliation for Hamas’s attacks that have left at least 1,400 Israelis dead.

Despite the tensions, markets in Europe were set to open modestly higher, although it was a weak Asia session. The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo was down 1.9% while in China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.4% and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong declined 0.6%.

Frasers swoop

Retail chain Frasers Group has made another swoop for shares in online operator boohoo. The owner of Sports Direct and House of Fraser now owns 15.1% of the company.

It continues Frasers’ acquisition spree which has seen it pick up stakes in electricals giant Curry’s, its online counterpart AO World and boohoo’s rival Asos.

It adds to other investments in German fashion designer Hugo Boss, Manchester-based clothing label N Brown, luxury handbag brand Mulberry and Next.

Market close

Miners benefited as copper prices were strengthened by a weaker dollar and amid renewed hopes of rising demand in China, the world’s top consumer of raw materials. 

Rio Tinto advanced by 144p, or 2.8%, to 5217p and Anglo American by 40p, or 1.8%, to 2282p.

St James’s Place, which lost more than a fifth of its value on Friday amid concerns over the impact of new consumer duty rules on its business model, rose by 32p to 672.25p as investors took advantage of the slump and anticipated changes by the company.

Shares in Shell closed up 28.5p at 2750.5p, exceeding previous highs set in May 2018, as the company benefits from rising oil prices. The energy major is now valued at more than £180 billion.

The FTSE 100 rose 31 points, or 0.4% to close at 7,630.63

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