THE London market was given much-needed breathing space today after oil prices eased on hopes that OPEC members will increase production.
The price of Brent crude slipped to 114 US dollars from the 118 US dollars a barrel seen yesterday, although the impact of Libya’s descent towards civil war continued to dominate the thoughts of traders.
The FTSE 100 Index, which finished in negative territory yesterday after surrendering earlier strong gains, rose 15.4 points to 5989.1.
The mood was helped by a late rally on Wall Street, while well-received full-year results from Old Mutual meant the South African financial services firm topped the risers board with a rise of 2.9p to 136.2p.
It was joined on the way up by BT Group and Vodafone, ahead 4.35p to 188.15p and 3.55p to 182.25p respectively, after Morgan Stanley upgraded its recommendation on both companies.
On the fallers board, pumps and valves maker Weir fell despite posting a 58% jump in full-year profits and expressing confidence in 2011 prospects.
Recent strong trading has propelled Weir into the FTSE 100 Index, but in a rare off-day shares today slipped back 21p to 1758p.
Outside the top flight, shares in television set-top box maker Pace fell 12% or 26.95p to 193.5p after it said it expected 2011 revenues to be similar to last year. Profits in 2010 rose 1.7% to £71.1 million.