Belfast Telegraph

FTSE 100 closes higher amid oil price spike

London's FTSE 100 Index closed higher thanks to a spike in the oil price and a share price hike for budget airline easyJet.

The top flight lifted 41.8 points to 6156.7, with Brent Crude jumping by 3% to just under 45 US dollars a barrel after outages caused by wildfires in Canada and pipeline attacks in Nigeria eased global oversupply concerns.

Also, Chinese consumer inflation held steady in April as a fresh promise of economy-boosting measures from Beijing helped to offset worries over recent weak trade data from the world's second-biggest economy.

Germany's DAX rose 0.6%, while in France the Cac 40 edged 0.2% higher. In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 170 points in early trading.

The pound was a cent up against the US dollar at just over 1.44, after the US Labor Department said employers in March posted the most jobs on offer in eight months, although total hiring slowed to 5.3 million from 5.5 million month-on-month, providing a mixed picture of the jobs market.

Sterling was also slightly ahead of the euro, at just under 1.27.

Oil supply disruptions of around 2.5 million barrels per day in Canada and outages in Nigeria saw shares in BP and Royal Dutch Shell lift 6.1p to 357.6p and 11.5p to 1730.5p respectively.

Low-cost carrier easyJet sparked gains across the travel sector as it shrugged off results revealing it swung into the red with half-year losses of £24 million after recent terrorist attacks hit bookings.

The group offered some cheer to investors despite the interim losses, pledging to increase its dividend payout ratio by a quarter.

Its shares built on Monday's gains after a broker upgrade in the previous session, rising by almost 3%, or 40p to 1510p, while Thomson holidays owner TUI lifted 31p to 1068p and British Airways group International Consolidated Airlines was 5p higher at 518.5p.

Outsourcing giant Capita was the strongest performer in the top flight, up 5%, or 54p to 1078p, after it reassured on growth and confirmed it had won a handful of contracts worth £458 million since the start of 2016.

Fears over its growth plans had hit shares earlier in the year.

FTSE 250 housebuilder Bovis Homes lifted after it brushed off concerns that the EU referendum is causing uncertainty in the housing market.

It said demand from buyers remained strong due to access to mortgage finance and signalled higher profit margins in the future. Shares rose 4p to 887.5p.

Stock in Hotel Chocolat jumped by almost a third on the company's first day of trading on the London market.

The luxury chocolate maker launched shares on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market for young companies at 148p each, and saw them rocket to 197p, valuing the business at more than £200 million.

Shares closed up 28%, or 14.5p at 190p.

The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 Index were Capita, up 54p at 1078p, Anglo American up 26.3p at 585.8p, Standard Chartered up 18.6p at 496p and Barclays up 4.9p at 163.3p.

The biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 Index were Taylor Wimpey down 3.7p at 180.3p, Associated British Foods down 55p at 3113p, Paddy Power Betfair down 145p at 8940p and Berkeley down 41p at 2943p.