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FTSE soars as oil price hits 90 dollars for first time since 2014

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The price of Brent crude oil soared past 90 dollars per barrel for the first time in around eight years on Wednesday, helping the FTSE 100 rebound from its painful start to the week.

After months of increases – the benchmark has added nearly 40 dollars in the last year – Brent once again reached the same levels it had last seen in 2014.

Wednesday’s 2.1% rise was enough to push Brent above the level, a rise caused by troop build-ups in eastern Europe.

“Crude oil prices have remained underpinned with little sign that any of the tensions that have helped push prices higher are easing,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

“If anything, the tensions are increasing on reports that the US has urged its citizens to consider leaving Ukraine immediately.”

Brent’s rise helped boost the share price of London’s oil companies. Shell and BP both ended the day with a more than 3.8% increase.

They rubbed shoulders with British Airways owner IAG and Ocado close to the top of the FTSE 100.

IAG was boosted by the fact that testing for fully vaccinated passengers who are coming to the UK will soon be dropped.

Holiday Inn owner IHG also performed well as a result.

By the end of the day, the FTSE 100 had gained 1.3%, a rise of 98.32 points, which pushed it to 7,469.78.

Its German and French cousins, the Dax and Cac 40 indexes, also rose by 2.2% and 2.1% respectively.

In New York, the S&P 500 had gained 1.5% and the Dow Jones was up 1% as trading ended in Europe.

On currency markets, Sterling rose by less than 0.1% against two of its major peers. By the end of the day, one pound could buy 1.3516 dollars or 1.1979 euros.

In London, Wizz Air announced that it had been hit by Omicron, but said that planes will be carrying plenty of passengers again by summer, or so it hopes at least.

It said that “despite short-term headwinds we are cautiously optimistic for a continued recovery into spring and near-full utilisation from summer onwards”.

The business carried 7.7 million passengers in the three months to the end of December, a major improvement from last year, but still millions away from its pre-pandemic levels.

Shares had originally been trading up strongly, but ended the day down 0.2%.

Shares in Bloomsbury soared more than 12% after it told shareholders to expect profits to be “materially” higher than the £197 million expected by City analysts in the year to the end of February.

The company had been helped by the launch of a new cookbook by chef Gino D’Acampo, as well as its ever-performing Harry Potter titles.

Pets At Home said that sales rose 5.8% in the 12 weeks to the end of December, hitting £319 million. Shares rose 3.3%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were IAG, up 10.68p at 158.65p; Shell A, up 97p at 1,907.8p; Shell B, up 96.2p at 1,908.2p; Aveva, up 134p at 2,884p; and ITV, up 5.1p at 113.45p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Fresnillo, down 102.79p at 702.2p; Sage Group, down 47p at 715.4p; LSE, down 186p at 7,224p; Unilever, down 59p at 3,877p; and Reckitt Benckiser, down 89p at 6,262p.

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