The UK FTSE 100 index reached a four-month high on Wednesday, closing 4.91 points up, or 0.1% higher at 6,410.26 – its highest close so far this year.
The London market benefited from a rally in the price of oil, with prices up 2% after encouraging data on U.S. supplies. Brent crude climbed up to $44.93 a barrel, while US crude oil reached $43.31 a barrel.
U.S. crude inventories added 2.1 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration – better than expected.
“Oil inventory data from the U.S. does appear to have been responsible for a late surge, driving us back into positive territory just ahead of the closing bell,” Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said in a note.
The FTSE’s biggest gainers
Commodity-related stocks were the biggest gainers, with mining giant BHP Billiton PLC up 3.4%, Rio Tinto up 3.9%. Antofagasta up 1.5%, Anglo American up 5.3%, and Fresnillo closing up 3.1% higher.
Oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and BP rose 0.7% and 0.2% respectively.
IG market analyst Joshua Mahony said: “The bulls are back in charge, after what promised to be a worrying week now looks likely to result in yet another blockbuster for the FTSE.”
Ken Odeluga, market analyst at City Index, said in a note:
“U.S. oil just crept into the black for the day as well … Cue rise by the oil majors, and in fact anything commodity-related, as per the pattern seen of late, with mining shares taking heart from rebounds in minerals markets that they may not be even directly linked to.”