LONDON’S heavyweight commodities stocks rallied as the view that oil prices have turned a corner gained traction.
Glasgow-based engineering firm Weir Group was among the biggest blue chip risers, adding more than 5 per cent as Brent staged a second day of solid gains to trade above $56 a barrel.
Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “Weir Group had been looking incredibly vulnerable as a supplier to the big oil companies that have been suffering in the face of falling crude prices but as consensus grows that we’re now past the lows, the reaction to the company’s share price has been nothing short of explosive.”
Weir added 96p at 1,830p, while Shell gained 111p at 2,180p. BP, which revealed fourth-quarter figures which were not as bad as many in the City had feared, climbed 12.15p to 449.85p.
BG Group almost missed the party after its own results disappointed, but its shares bounced back from a poor start to close just over 1 per cent higher at 945p.
With commodities giant Glencore adding more than 6 per cent at 269.35p, the FTSE 100 Index reached its highest point in four and a half months. Its close of 6,871.8, up 89.25 points or 1.3 per cent on the session, once again brings the index to within 1 per cent of the all-time high set way back in December 1999.
Outside the top flight, Ocado’s first profit in its 15-year history saw the stock jump 5 per cent. Shares were 19.7p higher at 435.2p, although Shore Capital retail analyst Clive Black retained his “sell” rating and warned that high investment costs and a meagre profit performance were expected to persist.
Telecoms firm TalkTalk slipped as it warned that underlying earnings for the year will be towards the lower end of expectations. The company’s shares fell 3.5p to 315p.