LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Wobbles With OPEC Decision In Sight

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.K. stocks dipped Thursday, with oil shares moving lower ahead of a production decision from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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The FTSE 100 was down 3.2 point at 7,511.90 as energy, tech and telecom shares declined. The utilities sector, considered a defensive one, and financials were moving higher. The index on Wednesday flipped higher to close up by 0.4% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mining-retail-shares-tug-ftse-100-slightly-into-the-red-2017-05-24).

The oil industry will be in focus Thursday as OPEC is expected to announce its highly anticipated decision on whether to extend production cuts. Cuts were initially put in place in November as a way to tackle global oversupply.

Read:4 potential outcomes for OPEC's crucial meeting (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/4-potential-outcomes-for-opecs-crucial-meeting-2017-05-19)

Oil prices have climbed in anticipation that a group OPEC and non-cartel members will continue pumping oil at reduced levels. West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude were up about 1%.

But shares of oil producer BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) fell 0.7% and rival Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) (RDSB.LN) lost 0.3%. The energy group has a roughly 14% weighting on the FTSE 100.

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"OPEC is notorious for failing to deliver, so it'll be touch and go to see if a deal is reached," said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, in an note. He added that "the market may also be reliant on dribs and drabs of information rather than anything substantial," as the decision isn't expected to arrive before 4 p.m. London time, or 11 a.m. Eastern Time.

Investors were also watching the pound , which was re-approaching the $1.30 level as the dollar was broadly lower against major rivals. A stronger sterling can hurt the FTSE as about 75% of the revenues for the index's companies are generated overseas.

The dollar was choppy late Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy-setting meeting showed policy makers appeared set to start shrinking the bank's massive balance sheet.

The minutes also showed that most Fed officials said it would "soon" be time to raise rates again.

Read:Seeing another rate hike 'soon,' Fed outlines plan to reduce bond holdings, minutes show (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/seeing-another-rate-hike-soon-fed-outlines-plan-to-reduce-bond-holdings-minutes-show-2017-05-24)

Meanwhile, a second reading of first-quarter gross domestic product for the U.K. is due at 9:30 a.m. London time, or 4:30 a.m. Eastern time, as are March figures for services activity.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 25, 2017 04:10 ET (08:10 GMT)