The FTSE 100 bounced back after a difficult period earlier this week. It closed 1.9% higher at 7,279, supported by positive movements in oil majors, utility companies and housebuilders among others. Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) climbed 1.7% to £23.45 and BP (BP.) increased 2.1% to 485p. Ofgem raised its 'safeguard tariff' level by £57 a year, prompting shares in British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) to rise by 3% to 127.8p. It was chased higher by United Utilities (UU.), which sparked 3% to 712.4p and SSE (SSE), up 2.3% at £12.19. Housebuilder Redrow (RDW) delivered a new record for sales, pre-tax profit and its order book, pushing the stock 5.4% higher to 625.5p. That provided a positive read-across to the rest of the sector with Taylor Wimpey (TW.) rising 1.3% to 187.2p and Barrett Developments (BDEV) advancing 1.6% to 572.2p. Brent crude oil sharply dropped 1.8% to $65.67 per barrel. Copper cheapened 2.8% to $3.09 per pound and gold fell 0.5% to $1,318 per ounce. OVERSEAS MARKETS Wall Street also extended yesterday's recovery rally with the S&P 500 advancing 0.8% to 2,716 around 4:45pm UK time. Investor sentiment also favoured European equities with the DAX rising 1.6% to 12,598p. MID AND LARGE CAP RISERS AND FALLERS Supermarket Tesco (TSCO) pared earlier losses to trade 1.3% higher at 202.5p after reports that an equal pay claim could leave it with a £4bn bill. Cigarette seller Imperial Brands (IMB) warned the stronger pound could drag on its performance, but left its earnings guidance intact. The shares drifted 1% higher to £27.58. Residential landlord Grainger (GRI) advanced 2% to 276.8p as investors responded to positive trading in the four months to 31 January. In the mining sector, Rio Tinto (RIO) was up 0.9% at £38.80 after its underlying profits increased by 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 downgraded the resource estimate on its Kenyan assets although not by as much as feared. The shares traded 1.3% 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 10.5% to 25p. Recruitment agency Gattaca (GATC) issued a profit warning, cut its dividend and departed ways with its chief executive, leaving its shares 14.8% lower at 213p. Shares in mining group BMR (BMR) were suspended after the Zambian government took away the mining licence for its Kabwe project. BMR said it would appeal. The news affected Jubilee Metals as it owns 29.01% of BMR; its shares fell by 5.2% to 2.8p. Cyber defence specialist Falanx (FLX) won two new contracts, causing a share price rally of 19% to 4.8p. 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 7.2% to 222.4p.
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