FTSE on the up

The FTSE 100 Index returned above the 5500 mark today as heavyweight players in the oil and mining sector powered advances on the London market.

The FTSE 100 Index returned above the 5500 mark today as heavyweight players in the oil and mining sector powered advances on the London market.

Commodity-facing stocks led the Footsie’s rise of more than 1% thanks to higher oil and metal prices.

The blue-chip share index rose 80.8 points to 5529.4 by mid-morning, recovering nearly all of its losses from the previous session.

Gains from the likes of BP and BHP Billiton offset falls from travel and transport groups on oil prices returning close to US$117 a barrel.

And rising metal prices saw miners dominate the risers board, with Antofagasta up 41p at 579p – an 8% lift.

BHP improved 6% or 97p to 1609p, while among oil companies Royal Dutch Shell lifted 69p to 1834p and BP rose 11.75p to 536.25p.

The gains came after a sharper-than-expected fall in US gasoline supply figures, which boosted crude prices.

Retailers Next and B&Q owner Kingfisher were also clawing back some losses seen in recent days, up 27.5p at 1018p and 3.1p at 127.7p respectively.

On the blue-chip fallers board, the oil price gain battered firms that are heavily fuel-dependent, such as bus and rail operator FirstGroup, down 10p at 565.5p.

Tour operator TUI Travel also sunk 4.75p to 223.25p, despite updating the market with “buoyant” trading.

News that Italy, Germany and France took a step closer to recession appeared to hit TUI hard, with much of its business coming from continental Europe.

British Airways also fell, down 2.25p to 253.25p, but the fall was limited by expectations that BA and American Airlines will today announce steps towards creating a joint venture.

Computer services firm Logica led the FTSE 250 Index after reporting significant sales and profitability improvement in the UK. With half-year results prompting Logica to raise its own growth forecasts, shares responded with a gain of almost 12%, up 13.25p at 125.75p.

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