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Tariff delay, Morrisons help FTSE 100 stay afloat

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09/12/2019 | 12:34pm EDT
A trader sits at his desk at IG Index in London

(Reuters) - London's blue-chip index ended in the black on Thursday as trade concerns were soothed by a two-week U.S. tariff reprieve on Chinese imports and Morrisons jumped on upbeat profit and forecast.

The FTSE 100 index was in and out of negative territory through the session but ended 0.1% higher, boosted by a 1% rise in tobacco giant BAT after layoff plans that offset losses in oil majors BP and Shell.

The mid-cap index <.FTMC>, meanwhile, dipped 0.1% after scaling its highest level in nearly a year.

The main index earlier touched a more than one-month high, helped by gains in global miners such as BHP and Anglo American after U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to delay increasing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Later in the day, a Bloomberg report https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-12/trump-advisers-consider-interim-china-trade-deal-to-delay-tariffs that advisers to Trump discussed offering a limited trade agreement to China that would delay and even roll back some U.S. tariffs briefly spurred buying, though CNBC later said a senior White House official denied https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/12/senior-white-house-official-denies-report-us-considering-interim-china-trade-deal.html the report.

Britain's No. 4 grocer Morrisons climbed 4.7% after beating expectations for first half profit and forecasting improved sales in its second half.

Heavyweight blue-chip oil stocks fell after Saudi Arabia's new energy minister said deeper supply cuts would not be discussed before a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries planned for early December.

Crude prices also came under further pressure after the European Central Bank cut its deposit rate to a record low. The ECB promised an indefinite supply of fresh asset purchases and cut interest rates deeper into negative territory.

"This feels like more of a symbolic gesture than effective stimulus that's highly dependent on looser fiscal policy to succeed," Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said.

Focus now shifts to policy stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve and adds more pressure on it to cut rates when it meets next week.

Brokerage actions also drove some moves, with rating downgrades in Premier Inn owner Whitbread, Intercontinental Hotel and Lloyds taking their shares between 1.3% and 2.5% lower.

Inkjet tech company XAAR jumped 21% after it agreed to sell 20% of its holding in Xaar 3D to U.S. company Stratasys for $10 million.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Andrew Cawthorne)

By Yadarisa Shabong

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ANGLO AMERICAN PLC 3.17% 1984.6 Delayed Quote.13.55%
BHP GROUP 1.40% 1720.4 Delayed Quote.4.17%
BP PLC -1.68% 493.55 Delayed Quote.-0.48%
BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO PLC -3.56% 2710 Delayed Quote.8.40%
FTSE 100 INDEX 0.28% 7234.11 End-of-day quote.0.00%
INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP PLC -1.18% 4762.5 Delayed Quote.12.39%
LLOYDS BANKING GROUP 12.27% 59.13 Delayed Quote.14.04%
STRATASYS LTD. 1.92% 20.22 Delayed Quote.12.27%
WHITBREAD PLC 3.76% 4190 Delayed Quote.-8.39%
WM MORRISON SUPERMARKETS PLC 4.26% 203.3 Delayed Quote.-4.67%
XAAR PLC 2.29% 49.1 Delayed Quote.-66.16%
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