UPDATE 1-Financials, oil keep FTSE 100 higher; Funding Circle hits all-time low

Britain’s main index pulled back from its peak but remained higher on Tuesday, propped up by gains in financial and oil stocks, while mid-cap Funding Circle tanked after cutting its revenue forecast.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.2%, but came off the more than nine-month high it hit in the previous session as focus shifted from a truce in U.S.-China trade dispute to the likelihood of an actual deal being struck any time soon.

Financial stocks advanced for a sixth straight session and oil majors gained as crude prices benefited from producer club OPEC extending supply cuts until next March.

Meanwhile, the mid-cap FTSE 250 gave up early gains to skid 0.2% after a survey showed Britain’s construction industry suffered its worst month in more than 10 years in June as Brexit worries put companies off long-term investment. Weighing on the mid-cap index was a 24% slide in the shares of Funding Circle after the peer-to-peer lending platform halved its 2019 revenue growth forecast due to weak demand for loans.

While the UK markets eked out gains, the relief rally sparked by a breakthrough in the U.S.-China trade talks fizzled out in Asia.

“There was a sense of déjà vu to Tuesday’s trading,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell, adding that investor worries stemmed from the fact that the United States and China had previously been close to a deal before talks broke down in May.

Such a skeptical view gained ground after President Donald Trump said on Monday that any trade deal with China would need to be “somewhat tilted” in favor of the United States.

As investor enthusiasm petered out, the U.S. dollar slipped, pushing the shares of exporter stocks such as BAT lower.

Among other moving stocks, insurers Hiscox, Admiral and RSA Insurance added more than 1% after reinsurance broker Willis Re said property reinsurance rates rose by up to 25% in the latest renewal round in areas of Florida hit by hurricanes.

Online trading platform Plus500 jumped nearly 5% after posting higher second-quarter revenue, as signs of reduced levels of marketing across its peer group in part bumped up its customer numbers.

Croda slipped 3.2% to a more than 3-1/2-month low after UBS downgraded the speciality chemicals maker’s stock and Citigroup cut its price target. The stock is on course for its seventh straight session of losses. (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

Published at Tue, 02 Jul 2019 08:54:43 +0000