THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: BP buoyed by Deepwater settlement

London Stock Exchange building. Picture: Getty
London Stock Exchange building. Picture: Getty
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OIL major BP topped the blue-chip risers’ board as it agreed to pay up to $18.7 billion (£12bn) to settle all US federal, state and local claims from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico five years ago.

The settlement, to be spread over 18 years, means BP’s total bill for the catastrophe, in which 11 workers were killed, will swell to almost $54bn, but the group’s shares surged 18.25p or 4.4 per cent to 437.4p as traders said the agreement had removed uncertainty over its liabilities.

Elsewhere in the oil and gas sector, Aberdeen-based Plexus rose 8p or 3.5 per cent to 234p after signing a “transformational” licensing deal with China’s Jereh to roll out its wellhead technology around the globe.

The positive reaction to BP’s penalty helped the FTSE 100 Index close 21.88 points higher at 6,630.47 amid cautious trading ahead of Sunday’s referendum in Greece, when voters will effectively decide whether to stay in the euro.

Among other stocks, housebuilder Persimmon said it had “traded well” in the first six months of the year, with total revenues up 12 per cent at £1.34bn, helped by a 4 per cent rise in average selling prices to £195,000. Half-year results are due on 18 August and shares gained 8p to close at 2,024p.

Car dealer Lookers, which bought Glasgow-based Audi specialist Lomond in 2012, saw its shares edge up 0.5p to 156p on the day it officially opened its £3.5 million showroom in Hamilton. The site, one of the largest Audi Approved facilities in Europe, has created about 30 jobs.

Dry cleaning specialist Johnson Service added 1p to 87.25p after telling investors that its results for 2015 will be slightly ahead of expectations. The firm recently became the UK’s biggest supplier of linen to the restaurant trade after completing a £65.4m deal to buy London Linen Supply.