FTSE shrugs off sky-high oil prices

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The FTSE 100 Index consolidated recent gains by opening 18.1 higher at 6023.1

A strong session for Asian markets helped London’s FTSE 100 Index shrug off sky-high oil prices and consolidate its recent gains.

The top flight index stood 18.1 points higher at 6023.1 after jumping more than 90 points on Thursday night on positive data from the United States showing that American firms are hiring more workers.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was up 1% as Asian markets seized on the encouraging signals from the world’s biggest economy, despite Brent crude remaining in the region of 116 US dollars a barrel.

Hints from the European Central Bank that a rise in interest rates could be on the cards at its next meeting also failed to derail markets.

Advertising giant WPP provided the focus for corporate results after the blue-chip company reported a strong end to 2010 and a 27% rise in full-year profits.

It forecast like-for-like revenues growth of 5% this year but shares slipped 2%, or 18.5p to 818p, following a recent strong run.

Outside the top flight, shares in online grocer Ocado continued their recent improvement after the recently-listed company said it remained profitable in the first quarter of its financial year. It added that sales increased by 24.7% to £146.2 million in the 12 weeks to February 20.

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