THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: Oil stabilises but FTSE keeps falling

Oil prices and related stocks found some stability. Picture: Getty
Oil prices and related stocks found some stability. Picture: Getty
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If IT’S not one thing it’s another dragging markets lower this week.

Just as oil prices and related stocks found some stability thanks to an upbeat US retail report, worries over Greece and the eurozone economy were pushing other sectors lower.

Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “The stability in the oil price is helping encourage some selective bargain hunting in the sector, but the question remains as to just how much further crude prices can slide - by all accounts, the New Year isn’t expected to result in any immediate change in fortunes.”

Shell edged 10p higher at 2,045p, but BG Group was down 28.7p at 843.7p.

But as the governing coalition in Athens admitted it was still short of the support needed to stop it collapsing in a parliamentary vote this month, the wider market retreated from early gains. The FTSE 100 Index is now down 4 per cent in the week following a fall of 38.34 points to 6,461.7.

Legal & General was among the biggest risers in the top flight after the pensions firm was raised to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Nomura.

The industry also benefited from a report into the retirement income market by the Financial Conduct Authority, which called for measures to improve competition but did not find evidence of mis-selling of annuities.

L&G shares were 5.3p higher at 246.6p, while Just Retirement rose 2.5p to 141.5p in the FTSE 250.

SuperGroup experienced a rollercoaster session after it reported a drop in half-year profits of almost a third. The stock fell by as much as 9 per cent – extending losses for this year to more than 40 per cent – but later recovered to finish 5p higher at 835p.