Thursday’s market report: Tesco and Unilever lead FTSE recovery

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Supermarket giant Tesco and food and household goods maker Unilever led a modest rally on the Footsie today as both stocks recovered some of their recent losses.

Tesco climbed 2 per cent or 7p to 365p as it bounced back from Wednesday’s news that its overseas woes had taken the shine off the turnaround in the grocer’s home market.

Analysts at Citi upgraded the chain – which was one of the most frequently-traded stocks – from “sell” to “neutral”.

Unilever also regained some of the ground it lost earlier in the week after warning that a slowdown in sales in emerging markets had accelerated. The stock rose by 2.1 per cent or 48p to 2,367p.

The wider FTSE 100 index closed up 11.54 points at 6,449.04, outperforming all other European indices, which were in negative territory.

Ronnie Chopra, a strategist at TradeNext, said: “The FTSE 100 has underperformed other European indices in the past week such as the Cac and Dax, so there may be some catching up as there are still a number of companies, that are on low price-to-earnings ratios and offer plenty of recovery potential.”

Oil giant BP – the UK’s fifth biggest company by market capitalisation – rose 1.1 per cent or 4.85p to 437.15p after it won a legal reprieve in a settlement related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, potentially sparing it billions of dollars of extra costs.

Elsewhere in the energy sector, Desire Petroleum soared by 32.7 per cent or 4p to 16.25p after its board recommended a merger with fellow South Atlantic-focused driller Falkland Oil & Gas (FOG) to create a company with wells both to the north and south of the Falkland Islands. FOG closed down 2.6 per cent or 0.75p at 27.75p.