Oil firms prop up FTSE

Oil firms propped up the London market today after the FTSE 100 Index slumped on Thursday due to downbeat housing market data from the United States.

Asian and some European markets posted fresh falls, but the Footsie bucked the trend with a gain of 32.3 points to 5111.5 by mid-morning.

A gain for oil prices after two days of falls meant Tullow Oil topped the risers board with a rise of 30p to 1169p. Exploration giant BG Group added 24p to 1091p and Cairn Energy lifted 52p to 2721p while BP rose 2% or 9.6p to 555.9p and Royal Dutch Shell cheered 21p to 1767p.

Hopes that world leaders will pledge to maintain stimulus measures for as long as needed also offered investors a degree of comfort after another week of fretting about economic recovery prospects.

In a thin day for corporate news, nightclubs operator Luminar slumped 32% as it reported a sharp drop in admissions and said it was in danger of failing to meet targets for full-year profits. Shares tumbled 42p to 88p.

Tate & Lyle shares were slightly lower, down 4.1p at 410.9p, after the sugar group reassured investors that half-year operating profits will match last year.

Broker Nomura had an impact on a number of stocks after it initiated coverage of the UK leisure sector with buy ratings on cruise ship firm Carnival, catering group Compass and hotels giant InterContinental.

Compass was the biggest beneficiary as its shares lifted 2% or 6.8p to 358.1p.

Among those placed at ’reduce’ by Nomura, Thomas Cook fell 4.2p to 241.6p, pubs firm Greene King declined 12.9p to 423.1p and betting shop chain Ladbrokes dropped 6.8p to 193.5p.

Support services group Serco was another faller – off 2p at 500.5p – as HSBC cut its rating for the stock from overweight to neutral.

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