Gold producers were on the march as the price of the precious metal hit a record high.
While investors fretted about the health of the banking system and global economy, gold rose as high as £1,645 an ounce.
That was its highest ever level in sterling terms.
In dollar terms, it rose above $2,000 to just shy of the record set as the pandemic struck before easing back.
Safe haven: As investors fretted about the health of the banking system and global economy, gold rose as high as £1645 an ounce
The rally sent shares in London-listed West African gold producer Endeavour Mining up 4 per cent, or 71p, to 1831p, Fresnillo gained 4.8 per cent, or 34p, to 744p and Centamin added 4.5 per cent, or 4.5p, to 105.15p.
Adrian Ash, director of research at investment platform Bullion Vault, said: ‘Wholesale bullion stands out as the most tradable of physical assets.
‘It’s the deep liquidity in gold, added to the security of outright ownership, which is driving this jump in new demand.’
Mining stocks also received a boost from positive broker upgrades. Glencore rose 3.9 per cent, or 16.7p, to 449.35p after the Bank of America raised its rating to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’.
A similar sentiment was echoed by analysts at UBS, which also upgraded the stock. They said they were ‘encouraged by recent China data which is somewhat stronger than expected’.
Likewise, Anglo American had its rating and target price upgraded by the Bank of America, which said the miner stood to make gains because it is a major platinum producer. Shares ascended 4.9 per cent, or 122p, to 2626p.
By contrast, oil prices tumbled to their lowest level since December 2021 amid fears over the health of the global economy. Brent crude dropped as low as $70 a barrel at one stage.
Stock Watch – Tribal Group
Shares in Tribal Group plunged after a university in Singapore tried to end an eight-year contract early.
The education software provider landed the £17million deal with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in late 2020.
Last year, Tribal said the contract was expected to be loss-making after persistent delays.
And yesterday it revealed that NTU is attempting to terminate the contract and ‘reserved its rights to claim damages’.
Shares tumbled 22 per cent, or 11p, to 39p.
It sent Tullow Oil down 4.6 per cent, or 1.34p, to 27.6p and Harbour Energy fell 0.4 per cent, or 1.1p, to 246.6p. But BP added 1.5 per cent, or 7.05p, to 487p and Shell gained 1 per cent, or 22p, to 2236p.
Having opened firmly in the red amid banking turmoil, the FTSE 100 eventually added 0.9 per cent, or 68.45 points, to 7403.85. The FTSE 250 rose by 0.1 per cent, or 24.3 points, to 18495.13.
Smurfit Kappa became the latest London-listed company to withdraw from Russia. The packing firm has sold its Russian businesses in St Petersburg and Moscow to local management almost a year after it first signalled its intention to exit. Shares rose 2.3 per cent, or 66p, to 2893p.
Intertek, the quality assurance and product testing business, has appointed a finance boss.
Colm Deasy will take on the job after Jonathan Timmis stepped down with ‘immediate effect’.
He will also sit on a new group executive committee led by Intertek boss Andre Lacroix. Shares inched up 0.5 per cent, or 21p, to 3997p.
Meanwhile, ITV took a £16million hit linked to the Queen’s death last year. In its annual report for 2022, the broadcaster said it was forced to cancel several episodes of Spitting Image that satirised the former monarch, at a cost of £9million.
The remaining £7million came from extra news reporting. Shares rose 1.9 per cent, or 1.52p, to 80.06p.
At First Group, the bus and rail operator’s West Coast Partnership contract has been extended by the Department for Transport to October 15.
It had been due to expire at the end of this month. Shares fell 0.1 per cent, or 0.1p, to 104.5p.
AO World’s boss has handed nearly 1.5m of the company’s stock to charity. John Roberts, who owns 18.35 per cent of the white goods firm he founded 23 years ago, gave away 1,468,189 shares.
That left him with 105.89m shares worth around £65million. Most of the stock given away went to the children’s charity OnSide Youth Zones.
Shares in AO rose 1.3 per cent, or 0.8p, to 61.8p.