Rising oil prices buoys up trading on Wall Street and in London

A wildfire burns south of Fort McMurray, Alberta, near Highway 63 in Canada earlier this month. Wildfires in the North American country have pushed Brent crude prices up to US$49 a barrel PICTURE: Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press/AP

THE London market edged higher, buoyed by rising oil prices and strong trading on Wall Street.

Brent crude jumped 2.5 per cent to just over US$49 a barrel as outages in Nigeria and wildfires in Canada ate into the world's oil glut, boosting shares in oil majors.

The FTSE 100 Index rose 12.9 points to 6151.4, after a strong opening from New York's Dow Jones Industrial Average also helped lift shares in London.

In France the Cac 40 was 0.2 per cent lower, while Dow Jones Industrial Average was up over 120 points in early trading. Germany's Dax was closed due to a public holiday.

The pound was up a cent against the US dollar at 1.44, after US data from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index showed that confidence in the housing market held steady even if the pace of sales has slowed recently.

Sterling is also up slightly against the euro at 1.27.

In stocks, Shares in Royal Dutch Shell and BP lifted 18.5p to 1750.5p and 3.5p to 366p respectively on rising crude prices.

BP also announced it was doubling its stake in the Culzean North Sea gas field as part of the energy giant's £7 billion investment programme in the region.

The company oil major has raised its holding from 16 per cent to 32 per cent in the development, which is expected to produce enough gas to meet 5 per cent of total UK demand by 2021.

British Land became the latest major firm to warn of business slowing down ahead of the EU referendum vote on June 23.

The firm behind the "cheesegrater" skyscraper in London said profits lifted by 16 per cent to £363 million for the full year, but saw its shares slide after it warned of a recent slowdown in office demand due to the UK's upcoming Brexit vote.

Shares fell 5p to 715p.

Platinum miner Lonmin said it had made good on its "promise" to cut costs as the firm's losses narrowed in the first six months of the year.

The London-listed small-cap business posted pre-tax losses of US$21m (£14.6m) in the first half of its year to March 31 as it slashed jobs, compared to a loss of US$118m (£82.2m) a year ago.

The South African-based miner said it cut 5,433 posts over the period, and plans to make a total of £31m in savings over the rest of the year as it faces lower platinum prices.

Shares in Lonmin jumped almost 20 per cent, or 32.3p to 195p, though they have lost around 80 per cent of their value compared to a year ago.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Anglo American up 31.3p at 609.5p, Antofagasta up 13.8p at 425.6p, Tesco up 5.1p at 166.7p and Fresnillo up 34p at 1149p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 Index were Provident Financial down 53p at 2784p, Inmarsat down 12p at 748.5p, Shire down 64p at 4070p and Carnival down 48p at 3582p.


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