Oil stocks recover on FTSE

A recovery in heavyweight oil and mining stocks saw the Footsie edge forward today after losses last week.

A recovery in heavyweight oil and mining stocks saw the Footsie edge forward today after losses last week.

Shares in BP and BG Group were up nearly 3%, while mining giant BHP Billiton posted early gains after crude oil and copper prices climbed.

Corporate results were thin on the ground, but the gains were enough to leave the FTSE 100 Index ahead 1.6 points at 5276.6 by mid-morning.

The positive mood followed a strong rally on Wall Street before the weekend.

Energy stocks topped the blue chip leader board, with BP and BG Group up 17p and 13p to 630.5p and 497p respectively. Royal Dutch Shell cheered 30p to 1834p and Cairn Energy was 31p ahead at 1734p.

BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, advanced 2.3p to 808p, while there were also a 8p gains for RioTinto and Antofagasta, which were up to 2172p and 1458p.

But a significant improvement for the top flight was stalled by less positive sentiment surrounding banking stocks, with HSBC, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS and Northern Rock all suffering early losses.

Friday’s big mover, Hilton Group, was also in the red, falling back 2.75p to 342.75p as investors took profits after a 13% rise at the end of last week. That followed speculation that US-based Hilton Hotels Corporation was willing to £3.6bn (€5.26bn) for the UK firm.

Outside the top flight, Classic FM owner Gcap Media caused excitement amid reports that

European buyout specialist Cinven could be about the launch a £700m (€1.02bn) bid for the company, just five months after it was formed. Shares in Gcap price jumped 25.75p to 334p today.

And shares in UK gas and water utility East Surrey were up 9% or 44.5p to 531.25p after regulators insisted that a £453m (€662m) takeover by private equity firm Terra Firma should go ahead.

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