(Alliance News) - London's FTSE 100 defied a tricky day for wider markets, as its miners and oil producers shone, while the dollar was supported as odds of the US Federal Reserve enacting three interest rate cuts this year dwindle.

The FTSE 100 index ended up 71.78 points, 0.9%, at 7,995.58, closing below the 8,000 point mark despite approaching its best-ever level earlier in the day.

The FTSE 250 shed 65.63 points, 0.3%, at 19,721.24, and the AIM All-Share lost 2.92 points, 0.4%, at 755.91.

For the week, the FTSE 100 added 1.1%, the FTSE 250 barely budged, while the AIM All-Share climbed 2.1%.

The Cboe UK 100 added 1.0% to 799.46 on Friday, the Cboe UK 250 fell 0.5% to 17,126.64, and the Cboe Small Companies climbed 0.6% to 14,862.69.

In European equities on Friday, the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.2% and the DAX 40 in Frankfurt fell 0.1%.

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.8%, the S&P 500 0.9% lower, and Nasdaq Composite giving back 1.0%.

Share price rises for miners helped the FTSE 100 find its groove, while peers across the Atlantic in mainland Europe struggled.

Gold producer Fresnillo surged 7.6%, tracking bullion prices higher. Gold was quoted at USD2,396.43 an ounce late Friday, higher against USD2,338.05 on Thursday.

Gold was not alone in shining. Base metals prices were also on the up, as was oil.

This pushed shares in miners Glencore and Anglo American up 5.1% and 3.7%, and oil majors Shell and BP up 2.6% and 3.7%.

Brent oil was quoted at USD91.05 a barrel late on Friday afternoon in London, up from USD89.94 late Thursday.

Rising global tensions boosted oil prices. Iran's threats of reprisals against Israel after a strike in Syria this month that killed two Iranian generals remain "real" and "viable," the White House said on Friday.

"We still deem the potential threat by Iran here to be real, to be viable," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Friday that Israel and the US were "shoulder to shoulder" in facing the threat from Iran, after talks with US Central Command chief Michael Kurilla.

"Our enemies think that they can pull apart Israel and the US, but the opposite is true – they are bringing us together and strengthening our ties", Gallant said in a statement, after the two discussed Iran's threats of retaliation for a deadly air strike on its consulate in Syria widely blamed on Israel.

Rising tensions hurt shares in airlines. easyJet lost 1.9% and British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group fell 3.8%.

The dollar was largely higher in the world of foreign exchange, though the threat of currency intervention supported the yen. The pound fell to USD1.2451 late Friday afternoon in London, down from USD1.2513 at the equities close on Thursday. The euro stood at USD1.0643, lower against USD1.0705. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY153.09, falling from JPY153.30.

Sterling traded below the USD1.25 mark for the first time since November. The euro was around its lowest level since November.

Analysts at ING said the red-hot US consumer price index report on Wednesday "was the trigger to a substantial dollar rally". A "dovish shift" by the European Central Bank and Bank of Canada "has now made that rally more sustainable", the Dutch bank believes.

"Both banks have given a nod to market bets for a rate cut in June, and rightly so given the considerably more encouraging domestic inflation outlook than in the US. As things stand now, the Federal Reserve looks unlikely to match that same dovishness, and the case for a growing divergence between an immobile FOMC and a bunch of dovish central banks is getting stronger," analysts at ING commented.

The pound fell on the greenback despite data suggesting the UK is out of recession.

According to the Office for National Statistics, UK gross domestic product rose by 0.1% in February from January, in line with FXStreet cited consensus. UK GDP had expanded 0.3% on-month in January, according to revised data.

Back in London, Huddled Group rose 7.7% after the investor in e-commerce brands said it will acquire Food Circle Supermarket for up to GBP300,000.

Food Circle is an online retailer based in Dinnington, South Yorkshire. In 2023, it delivered revenue of around GBP1.4 million.

According to Huddled, the acquisition is complementary to its Discount Dragon business and is "the next step in the group's strategy to build a portfolio of e-commerce brands".

Bens Creek plummeted 24% after it reported that it has laid off 44 employees. The owner and operator of metallurgical coal mines across North America said that the move is due to "the depressed metallurgical coal price", as well as "financial constraints at the company and production difficulties", at its mining project in West Virginia.

Bens Creek added that the mine will be operated on a care and maintenance basis for the time being.

Bens Creek added that lower coal prices and interruptions in production at the mine in West Virginia had put a strain on the company's cashflow in the first months of 2024.

Monday's economic calendar has a eurozone industrial production reading at 1000 BST, before US retail sales data at 1330 BST.

The UK corporate calendar has a trading statement from emerging markets-focused investment manager Ashmore Group.

By Eric Cunha, Alliance News news editor

Comments and questions to newsroom@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2024 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.