The global markets started to recover from an intense sell-off earlier this week with the FTSE 100 following the US and Asia into positive territory. Oil majors helped the recovery as they have the biggest market caps in the index. Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) increased 1.3% to £23.35 and BP (BP.) followed with a 0.8% rise to 478.9p. The top performing blue-chips included utilities after Ofgem raised its 'safeguard tariff' level by £57 a year. United Utilities (UU.) ticked 1.3% higher to 701p. Utility firm SSE (SSE) and British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) enjoyed a smaller uplift. UK annual house price rises slowed from 2.7% in December to 2.2% in January, flagging the lowest rate since July 2017, according to Halifax. Brent crude oil slipped 0.2% to $66.73 per barrel. MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Supermarket Tesco (TSCO) pared earlier losses to trade flat just short of 200p after reports an equal pay claim could leave it with a £4bn bill. The stock was flat at 198.9p. Cigarette seller Imperial Brands (IMB) warned the stronger pound could drag on its performance, but left its earnings guidance intact. The shares drifted 0.3% higher to £27.37. Housebuilder Redrow (RDW) delivered a new record for sales, pre-tax profit and its order book, pushing the stock 2.8% higher to 610.2p. Grainger (GRI) advanced 1.3% to 275p as investors responded to positive trading in the four months to 31 January. In the mining sector, Rio Tinto (RIO) was up 0.3% to £38.55 after its underlying profits increased 69% to $8.6bn and the full year dividend hit a new record of $5.2bn. Tullow Oil (TLW) revealed significant free cash flow generation in its full year results thanks to strong production and tight cost control but reduced the resource estimate on its Kenyan assets. The shares traded 1% higher after a poor run heading into this release. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS A positive update from Highland Natural Resources (HNR) concerning its well in the Permian Basin caused the shares to soar 18.2% to 26.7p. Filta (FLTA) reports sales in 2017 were up over 30% year-on-year, exceeding £13.25m. Shares in the franchise group gained 3.3% to 179.7p. Lipsticks and eyeshadow seller Warpaint London (W7L) continued its strong performance throughout 2017 and said its integration of Retra to enter the men's markets was going well. The stock rose 2.4% to 212.5p.
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