FTSE jumps for joy on fourth day of gains as oil prices rise

File photo of a Job Centre Plus branch as latest unemployment figures dipped to 1.69 million in the final quarter of last year PICTURE: Gareth Fuller/PA

THE London market jumped sharply as rising oil prices and a mining rally led to a fourth consecutive day of gains.

Traders cheered Glencore's plans to refinance its US$8.45 billion (£5.9bn) credit facility, which comes on the back of Tuesday's strategy announcement by Anglo American to shore up its finances.

The FTSE 100 Index lifted 168.2 points to 6030.3, as the price of Brent crude rose more than 5 per cent to just under US$34 a barrel as protracted talks continue between oil-producing nations about cutting output.

Germany's Dax and the Cac 40 were both up around 3 per cent.

Iran is reported not to be in favour of the output freeze, agreed by oil ministers from three Opec countries, as well as Russia, on Tuesday. However, traders are cheered that dialogue among oil producing nations is under way.

The price of oil is 70 per cent below its peak in the summer of 2014, but output levels have been maintained as producers bid to keep hold of market share.

IG Index market analyst Joshua Mahony said: "The FTSE has continued to surge higher this week, reaching the 6000 mark for the first time in two weeks."

"Despite this, there is a general distrust behind any such rally, given the inability to follow through on initial gains and it is this healthy dose of scepticism which provides expectations that this rally will soon stumble."

Fears over slowing economic growth in emerging markets led by China have seen world stock indices stumble, with the London market down some 3 per cent since the start of the year.

The UK jobless total dipped to 1.69 million in the final quarter of last year, a rate of 5.1 per cent, the lowest since the end of 2005.

However, average earnings increased by 1.9 per cent in the year to December, 0.2 per cent down on the previous month.

The pound was slightly down against the US dollar at just under 1.43, and little changed against the euro at 1.28.

Among stocks in London, miners Glencore and Anglo American were the biggest risers, up 17.1p to 120p and 70.1p to 468.1p respectively.

Engine-maker Rolls-Royce lifted 46.5p to 678p after a Financial Times report said it was preparing to back US hedge fund ValueAct's attempt to gain representation on its board of directors following its acquisition of a 10 per cent stake in the company.

The group has suffered five profit warnings over the past two years as its markets deteriorate.

New and used car sales website Auto Trader also saw its stock value climb 10.2p to 371.5p, as it upped its full-year earnings outlook after hailing better-than-expected sales.

The FTSE 250 firm, which attracts around 43 million visits to its websites a month, said that while the number of retailer forecourts advertising on its sites remained flat since its half-year, sales were boosted as retailers and private sellers placed more ads.

The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 Index were Anglo American up 70.1p at 468.1p, Glencore up 17.1p at 120p, Antofagasta up 37.8p at 478.4p and Aberdeen Asset Management up 18.8p at 245.3p.

There were only two fallers in the FTSE 100 Index – Severn Trent down 11p at 2113p and National Grid down 0.2p at 955.3p.


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