Business

FTSE 100 flat as financial stocks slide

Trader watching monitor Image copyright AFP

The UK's benchmark share index ended little changed on a quiet day for company news.

By the end of trading, the FTSE 100 index was up just 1.93 points at 7,562.28.

Financial stocks weighed on the index, with Barclays down 0.7% after Deutsche Bank cut its target price for the UK bank's shares.

Elsewhere in the financial sector, Standard Life Aberdeen dropped 1.4% and RSA Insurance fell 1.6%.

But there was better news for health stocks after medical products and technologies company Convatec was upgraded to a "buy" rating by UBS.

Shares in Convatec ended the day as the FTSE 100's biggest riser, jumping by almost 4% while NMC Health rose 2.5%.

In the FTSE 250, shares in outsourcing group Mitie rose 1.5% following a broker upgrade. Analysts at Jefferies upgraded their rating on the stock to "buy" from "underperform".

On the currency markets, the pound gained 0.5% against the dollar to $1.31390 and was 0.6% higher against the euro at €1.13270.

Oil prices hit their highest levels for more than two years after the heir to the throne in Saudi Arabia consolidated his hold on power with a major purge of the kingdom's political and business leadership at the weekend.

A new anti-corruption body, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, detained 11 princes, four sitting ministers and dozens of ex-ministers.

Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest exporter of crude oil and the second-largest producer of the commodity.

By the close of London share trading, the price of Brent crude oil was 2.7% higher at $63.73 - its highest level since July 2015.