FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: Brent bounce tempts brave investors

London’s beleaguered commodity stocks staged a rebound as a modest rise in the price of Brent tempted traders to call the bottom of the market.

With BP also enjoying a rare fillip from a US court ruling, the FTSE 100 added 51.49 points or 0.8 per cent to 6,550.27.

Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “It has been a day of bargain hunting in many FTSE names, with the top end of the index dominated by companies that have seen heavy losses during the week.”

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BP was the biggest riser after a US judge ruled that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was smaller than government estimates.

Its shares surged 20.75p to 413.35p, as Brent climbed back above the $50 a barrel mark. Tullow Oil was up 9.8p at 364.7p and Royal Dutch Shell added 36.5p at 2,102.5p.

With copper prices also bouncing, miner Glencore was up almost 5 per cent, or 11.95p, at 252.55p, Anglo American lifted 40p to 1,099.5p and Fresnillo was 29.5p higher at 884.5p.

In corporate updates, JD Sports Fashion said it was on course to beat annual profit expectations as it posted a bumper 12 per cent rise in like-for-like sales over the Christmas period.

Shares rose 6 per cent or 31.9p to 508p as JD said headline profits for the year to the end of January would grow by even more than the 17 per cent increase that had been at the top end of City forecasts.

The fall-out from the Swiss central bank’s move to end the franc’s exchange rate peg to the euro continued to be felt in currency markets.

Financial spread betting firm IG Group had already said that it expects to incur losses of up to £30 million, dependent on the company’s ability to recover client debts. Its shares fell sharply on Thursday and were down by another 4.5p to 705p.