FTSE 100 Index rebounds as mining and oil stocks perform strongly
The London market finished the week strongly, driven by mining and oil stocks which clawed back most of Thursday's heavy losses.
The FTSE 100 Index jumped 103 points to 6156.3, recovering from a two-month low in the previous session as global stocks were gripped by fears of an imminent US interest rate hike and were caught in the wake of the EgyptAir plane crash.
In Europe stocks also rebounded with Germany's DAX up 1.2%, and in France the Cac 40 lifted 1.5%. In New York the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 130 points in early trading.
The pound fell a cent against the US dollar at 1.45, after strong US housing data saw sales of existing homes rise by 1.7% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.45 million.
Sterling was also a cent down against the euro at 1.29.
Trustnet Direct market analyst Tony Cross said: "After charging higher at the open, London's FTSE 100 Index has done a sterling effort of holding on to those gains through the session despite the abject lack of fresh fundamental data to work on.
"The concerns of a US rate hike that were largely responsible for driving yesterday's sell-off have been sidelined, although the market still seems to be thinking that the chance of monetary policy tightening in June remains well below 50%."
In London, the price of Brent crude edged up to just under 49 US dollars for a barrel of oil on supply disruption concerns, sending shares in BP and Royal Dutch Shell up 5.5p to 361.5p and 25.5p to 1689p respectively.
Heavyweight miners were also higher, with Anglo American up 21p to 600.3p, while Antofagasta rose 10p to 429p.
Traders shrugged of Thursday's gloom with virtually every stock in the top flight in positive territory.
Elsewhere, Ladbrokes was the biggest riser in the FTSE 250 after the competition regulator signalled the bookmaker and rival Coral may have to offload hundreds of high street stores as a condition of their proposed £2.3 billion merger.
The proposed deal would create Britain's biggest bookmaker with around 4,000 betting shops, but the Competition and Markets Authority has identified 659 areas across the country where the deal could harm competition.
Ladbrokes and privately-held Coral are currently the second and third-biggest betting operators after William Hill.
Ladbrokes jumped more than 6%, or 7.8p, to 127.3p. William Hill lifted 2.2p to 308.2p.
Moss Bros has bucked the trend of its high street peers and posted strong sales growth for the first quarter.
The suit retailer said that like for like sales grew 5% in the period, driven by online growth and sales at its suit hire service.
Chief executive Brian Brick said the strong figures were helped by Moss Bros not having to run a sale.
However, after rising 3% in early trading, shares eased to close unchanged at 101p.
The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 Index were Coca-Cola HBC up 80p at 1366p, Whitbread 199p at 4279p, Shire up 169p at 4281p and Barratt Developments up 22p at 580.5p.
There were only three fallers in the FTSE 100 Index, which were Johnson Matthey down 20p at 2875p, Admiral Group down 5p at 1873p and Randgold Resources down 5p at 6030p.