UK stocks are on the up again, rising for the fifth day straight on Monday, and are set to hit a two-week high with the Santa rally in full effect in the final few days of trading ahead of Christmas. London’s FTSE 100 is trading 0.8% higher at 6,597 in early deals, a level at which it has not closed above since 8 December.
Oil producers put in a strong showing in early trade, tracking the 2% rise in Brent crude February delivery contracts to $62.61 a barrel, as oil prices rebound after dropping below the $60 mark last week for the first time since mid-2009. Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) heads the Footsie leader board, up 2.4% at £22.76.
B&Q-to-Castorama owner Kingfisher (KGF) clips ahead 4.7p (1.45%) to 328.9p as investors welcome the sale of a 70% stake in its B&Q China business. Chinese retailer Wumei Holdings is paying £140 million in cash for the controlling stake, while the deal frees Kingfisher up to focus on 'the large and attractive', yet challenged European home improvement market.
Argos-to-Homebase owner Home Retail (HOME) is marked 3.8% higher to 199p, as investors bet the business' exposure to spend on housing products, big ticket items and electrical goods will see it among the Christmas retail winners.
Construction group Kier (KIE) is in demand after its joint venture with Clancy Docwra was named as the preferred bidder for a £1 billion Thames Water infrastructure project. The shares add 2.2% to £14.68.
Wafer recycling microcap Pure Wafer (PUR:AIM) has nearly 20% of its market value wiped off as a fire shuts down its reclaim plant in Swansea. The shares crash 11.5p to 46.5p with the market worried about potential huge disruption and the effect on revenues and profits this year.
Oncology and immunology biotech Tiziana Life Sciences (TILS:AIM) jumps 9.1% to 53.5p on securing the licence to develop foralumab, an immune system-strengthening human antibody, to fight inflammatory diseases.
Online gambling company Bwin.party (BPTY), which announced last month it is in talks with a number of potential bidders, falls 5% to 112p as investors lose confidence in the poker specialist making an announcement before the New Year.