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London Markets: FTSE 100 climbs, led by energy and utility companies as power prices rise

Surging oil prices drove the heavily weighted energy sector higher in London on Monday, helping to boost the FTSE 100, while shares of National Grid also rose, amid surging electricity prices.

The FTSE 100
UKX,
+0.53%

climbed 0.7% to 7,081.92, after last week’s 1.5% decline, the biggest weekly percentage fall since the week ending August 20, 2021. The pound
GBPUSD,
-0.02%

was flat at $1.3831.

U.S. crude prices
CL00,
+1.10%

rose around 1% and international benchmark Brent crude
BRN00,
+0.78%

climbed 0.6%. That helped lift shares of BP
BP,
+1.94%

BP,
+2.69%

and Royal Dutch Shell
RDSA,
+1.93%

RDSA,
+1.93%

by 1% or more each. U.S. natural gas prices
NGV21,
+4.37%

surged 3%, as winds in the North Sea slowed down, hampering wind-driven electricity.

The continent and U.K. have been dealing with natural gas shortages and higher electricity prices for weeks, with problems for wind-energy a fresh headache. Shares of National Grid
NG,
+2.66%

NGG,
+2.70%

rose 2%, while SSE
SSE,
+1.46%

shares rose 1.5%.

Elsewhere, shares of AB Foods
ABF,
-2.61%

fell 2.4%, leading the FTSE 100 ‘s decliners after the British multinational food processing and retailing company lifted its full-year adjusted operating profit expectations, as Primark and its AB Food business are expected to exceed management’s previous expectations.

But Primark sales growth eased in the fourth quarter amid measures to keep the delta coronavirus variant under control in the U.K., Spain and elsewhere.

“Even though lockdown measures are now (hopefully) a thing of the past, Associated British Foods-owned Primark still saw volatile trading over the summer because of people being told to self-isolate. There remains a real risk of further disruption if there is an autumn flare-up of Covid as more people interact in society and the Delta variant still rages,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould, in a note to clients.

Elsewhere, at least one London-listed company was getting a lift as retail investors on Reddit comment boards appeared to take fresh interest in the metal that has been seeing a surge in prices over the past week. Shares of U.K.-listed microcap, Berkeley Energia
BKY,
+7.81%
,
a clean energy group with uranium mining operations climbed 6%.

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