StockMarketWire.com - London equities ended the session and week on a positive note as bargain-hunting traders helped key indices scramble off recent lows. Oil majors benefitted from an uptick in crude prices, with supporting cast provided by financials and retail.

At the close, FTSE 100 was up 137.45, or 2.38%, to 5911.24. FTSE 250 was up 299.66, or 1.89%, to 16,133.2. At 4.44pm, crude was a feather above USD31/bbl, a marked jump from yesterday's price. European bourses were materially firmer, with Wall St enjoying moderate gains.

Sports Direct (SPD) was enjoying the limelight with a 6.42% vault up to 423.35p, with retailers Dixon Carphone (DC.) up 4.58% to 464.75p, Next (NXT) adding 3.42% to 6805p, and Burberry (BRBY) firming 3.08% to 1188.5p. Supermarkets were up, too, but off the overall pace.

Oily issues sortied north with crude. Shell (RDSA) was chief beneficiary with a 5.28% to 1386p, while BG (BG.) stacked on 5% to 979.3p. BP (BP.) was on the front foot and up 2.75% to 351.65p. More than 80 blue chips advanced, with about 43 gaining 2% or more.

Utilities rode north behind SSE (SSE), up 2.64% to 1380.5p, with pharmas popping up after Hikma (HIK), up 3.6% to 1971.5p. Financials firming included insurers after Admiral (ADM), adding 4.56% to 1732.5p, investment specialists after Schroders (SDR), appreciating 4.19% to 2697.5p, and banks in the wake of Lloyds (LLOY), rising 3.4% to 66.9p.

Miners were notable to the downside. Anglo American (AAL) slumped 6.67% to 231.45p, with Glencore (GLEN) trailing and off 2.61% to 80.1p. House builders were out of favour after Persimmon (PSN), lower 3.47% to 1838p. The market remains sensitive to crude pricing, potential Iran oil exports, Middle East tensions and China's economic outlook.

BIGGER MOVERS

Worldview is in the process of evaluating and preparing for a possible all cash offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Petroceltic International (PCI), excluding those shares already under its beneficial interest. PCI rose 58.7% to 18.25p.

Highway Capital (HWC), up 39.13% to 16p, has appointed Ludwik Sobolewski as non-executive chairman with immediate effect. Condor Gold (CNR), up 21.25% to 24.25p, has revealed new figures which significantly enhances the economics of its La India project in Nicaragua.

Mobile Streams (MOS), up 35.71% to 7.13p, sees a small H1 EBITDA loss. Revenues for the half were GBP8.1m, from GBP18.5m, however the impact of forex saw sterling's equivalent of the peso assets reduced by about GBP0.7m, versus GBP70,000.

Pinnacle Tech (PINN), down 29% to 8.88p, posted a FY pretax loss of GBP1.4m, from a year-ago loss of GBP1.9m. It has agreed to acquire Ancar-B Technologies and Weston Communications for GBP5m in cash and shares. It intends to raise GBP4.55m via a placing at 4.2p a share.

ECONOMIC NEWS

Stateside, the Markit flash US manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 52.7 in January, from December's 38-month low of 51.2. Also in the US, the Conference Board Leading Economic Index declined 0.2% in December to 123.7, after a 0.5% rise in November and October.

US existing-home sales jumped 14.7% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46m, National Association of Realtors said.

On this side of the Atlantic, Euro zone's flash manufacturing PMI fell to 52.3 in January, down from December's 53.2 and below market predictions for 53.0. Its flash services PMI slipped to 53.6, below market views for and a previous print of 54.2.

LONDON HIGHLIGHTS

Aureus Mining (AUE), down 20.93% to 4.25p, said its gold output totalled 17,172 oz in 2015, versus a target of 27,000 oz, while 3663 oz gold have been produced so far this year. In other news, Oxford Instruments (OXIG) firmed 12.31% to 652.5p as it said orders in the December quarter were up on the same period a year ago.

Northern Petroleum (NOP), up 10.05% to 3.01p, said the acquisition of the Canadian production and reserves assets (Rainbow Assets) has completed. Meantime, Record Plc (REC), up 12.99% to 25p, said assets under management equivalents rose to USD53.5bn at Dec. 31, 2015.

Thor Mining (THR), down 8.4% to 0.03p, said Australian company PC Gold Pty Ltd expects a decision late next week on the availability of unconditional financing for the conditional acquisition of Thor's gold interests.

DekelOil Public (DKL), up 6.82% to 1.18p, operator and 51% owner of the vertically integrated Ayenouan palm oil project in Cote d'Ivoire, has signed an agreement with a local smallholder, which owns about 1000 ha of mature estates.

Providence Resources (PVR), up 5% to 10.5p, has provided a technical update on a major new multi-client 3D seismic programme, which is planned to be acquired by Searcher Seismic Pty Ltd in summer 2016, subject to regulatory approvals.

The Mission Marketing Group (TMMG) firmed 5.06% to 41.5p on expecting its prelims to hit expectations. Distil (DIS) fizzed 5.41% higher to 0.98p, albeit off a low base, on news of strong Christmas trading in the UK and in key international markets.

Circle Property is planning a move to AIM. It has a portfolio of 16 properties worth GBP74m. No word yet on how much it intends to raise or when it will list.

Other stocks in the news included Fusionex (FXI), The Character Group (CCT), President Energy (PPC), Close Brothers (CBG), Workspace (WKP), Pantheon Resources (PANR), eServGlobal (ESG), StatPro (SOG), Workspace (WKP), Computacenter (CCC), Craneware (CRW), PureTech Health (PRTC), IXICO (ICI), Helios Underwriting (HUW) and JKX Oil & Gas (JKX). Story provided by StockMarketWire.com