- Stronger oil prices pushed utility and oil companies higher on a quiet day for corporate news, but at the last minute oil prices reversed.

Brent crude oil retreated 0.7% to $48.73 per barrel.

SSE (SSE) and United Utilities (UU.) and British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) sparked up to 1.8%, while the dominant oil stocks Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) and BP (BP.) gained 0.5%.

Investors were hopeful the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would extend their production cut to support prices.

A weak performance in the mining sector caught up with the FTSE, which closed flat at 7,291.

Antofagasta (ANTO) and Anglo American (AAL) lead the miners lower thanks to underwhelming data from China.

Annual house price growth was unchanged at 3.8% as deterioration in housing affordability curbed interest according to high street bank Halifax's latest data.

Copper fell 1.6% to $5,467 per tonne.


Wall Street was flat on Monday as investors had already priced in Emmanuel Macron's victory in the French presidential election.

China's trade surplus widened in April to approximately $38bn from $29.93bn, amid concerns global trade momentum might be easing.

The country's imports and exports were below forecasts, causing the SSE Composite to slump 0.8% on Monday.

Other markets in Asia closed higher as investors were relieved that Macron won the French election over the weekend and beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.


Centrica admitted it lost 261,000 domestic customers so far in 2017 as it faced competition from independent, challenger brands. The first quarter update came ahead of an annual general meeting where chief executive Iain Conn's level of compensation might be in focus.


Cadburys chocolate manufacturer Premier Foods (PFD) was unmoved at 43p on a heads of terms agreement for a strategic global partnership with Toblerone maker Mondelez. It would renew its long-standing licence to produce and market Cadbury branded cake and ambient dessert products.

There was a raft of news in the small cap mining and oil sectors. The market was not impressed by Petro Matad's (MATD) announcement it secured $45.2m to undertake an exploration work programme in its Block IV and V production sharing contracts in western and central Mongolia. The stock crashed 22% to 23.9p.

Intelligent Energy (IEH) rallied 22.8% to 6.6p after it became the technical lead in a programme to further develop a fuel cell stack for future mass manufacture.

Europa Oil & Gas (EOG) sparked 10% to 7.7p as an independent report by ERC Equipoise confirmed two new pre-rift prospects, Ervine and Edgeworth, in its licensing option offshore Atlantic Ireland.

Investors took some profit at oil explorer Hurricane Energy (HUR) as an independent audit suggested recoverable volumes from its Lancaster field were more than twice as large as previously estimated. The shares were down 2.8% to 62p.

The competent person's report put the volumes at 523 million barrels of oil, up 162%. The survey covered the Lancaster find and did not include other discoveries in what Hurricane called the 'Greater Lancaster Area'.

Kazakh oil producer Caspian Sunrise (CASP) plummeted 12.6% to 9.2p on mixed drilling news. Its key transaction with private firm Baverstock to boost its interest in the BNG licence was also yet to be signed off by the authorities in Kazakhstan.

Story provided by