Friday market close: Oil price rise fuels gains on markets

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The FTSE 100 Index ended a volatile week on a positive note helped by a bounce-back in the oil price, though the last session of August rounded off the top-flight’s worst month for more than three years.

It finished 55.91 points higher on the day at 6,247.94, meaning after all the sharp ups and downs of recent sessions the index was about 60 points ahead for the week.

But the closing level ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend was more than 400 points lower than at the end of July, a 6.7 per cent fall that is the worst for a calendar month since May 2012.

Global markets have been shaken by fears of a slowdown in the Chinese economy - worries that dragged the FTSE 100 lower for ten sessions in a row culminating in a 4.7 per cent drop on Monday.

But sentiment has improved amid an interest rate cut in China and upgraded second quarter growth in the US.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose again overnight and the price of a barrel of Brent crude has now picked up.

Chris Beauchamp of IG Index said seasonal trends also pointed to the possibility of further stock market gains next week.

“September usually sees the start of a bumper season for equities, so bullishness should grow as the new month gets underway,” he pointed out.

After tumbling to a near six and a half year low of less than $43 earlier this week, the Brent crude price climbed close to $50 in the latest session.

This helped Royal Dutch Shell rise 47p, to 1,706.5p while exploration firm BG, with which it is to merge, added 32.8p to reach 994.6p. BP added 9.3p to 360.5p.

But the oil price rise weighed on travel firm TUI, which fell 3%, or 33p, to 1,156p, with easyJet down 22p to 1,683p and British Airways owner International Airlines Group off 7p to 539p.

The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 included Inmarsat, up 45.5p to 981p, BG up 32.8p to 994.6p, Royal Dutch Shell up 47p to 1,706.5p and BHP Billiton up 29.5p to 1,132p.