Relief for FTSE as oil stocks stabilise

Relief at higher oil stocks in the United States helped the FTSE 100 Index climb back from yesterday’s two-month low today.

Relief at higher oil stocks in the United States helped the FTSE 100 Index climb back from yesterday’s two-month low today.

British Airways was one of the stocks contributing to the gains as investors expressed relief at the prospect of cheaper fuel, helping the Footsie lift 27.8 points to 4928.5 by mid-morning.

Significant gains across the Atlantic last night were triggered by a dip in oil prices following the announcement on supplies – although the cost of a barrel of US light crude crept back above the 54 US dollars mark today.

In London, BA was the second highest climber after advancing more than 2% or 6p to 269.25p. It was beaten to the top spot by Shire Pharmaceuticals, which cheered 4%, up 22p to 584p.

Oil giants BP and Shell regained some of yesterday’s significant losses to climb 3p and 4.5p to 550p and 480.5p respectively.

National Grid Transco was boosted by its announcement that it is to invest £355m (€515.5m) to expand energy capacity as part of Britain’s preparations to become a significant importer of natural gas. Shares rose 5.25p to 498.5p.

British Gas owner Centrica – one of three firms that will benefit from the additional capacity – also lifted a penny to 233.75p.

But catering group Compass was out of favour as it warned of a blow to profits after its Middle East division fed more peacekeepers rather than active military personnel. Compass was the heaviest Footsie faller – off 6% or 15p to 239.25p.

Among other companies reporting, FTSE 250 stock Mothercare was 5% higher – up 13.5p at 278.5p – after saying it expected annual results to meet hopes as sales picked up after a Christmas downturn.

Tour operator MyTravel also advanced 0.3p to 5.8p after it said bookings had been encouraging for the summer season.

Outdoor advertising group Maiden weakened a penny to 239p after saying its business had been left in limbo by the wait for a general election date to be announced.

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