- A sharp recovery in oil prices provided a welcome rebound by Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) and BP (BP.) after falling on Thursday.

As the stocks are among the biggest on the FTSE, the index moved 0.5% higher at 7,349.

Other stocks that contributed to the positive momentum included Natwest owner Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK).

In the three months to January, total UK production rose by 1.9% with manufacturing providing the largest contribution and its strong growth in nearly seven years, according to the Office for National Statistics.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil was approximately 0.5% higher at $49.54 and $52.41 per barrel, respectively.

Gold was 0.5% down at $1,196 per ounce and copper rose 0.6% to $5,710 per ounce.


On Wall Street, investors waited for US jobs data, which is important concerning expectations over an interest rate hike next week.

In Asia, most of the markets closed higher on Friday ahead of the employment data, with the exception of Shanghai's SSE Composite, which nudged lower.


Telecoms giant BT (BT.A) sparked 4.5% to 345p on a deal with regulator Ofcom to legally separate its Openreach infrastructure arm. The new business will have its own management and independent board but will still be part of the wider BT group.


Car insurer Esure (ESUR) accelerated 7.3% as it delivered an increase in full year premiums ahead of increased expectations and at the top end of analysts' forecasts. The company left its numbers unadjusted despite the change in the Ogden rate, governing the payouts to victims of car accidents, which hit several of its peers.

Oil services firm Amec Foster Wheeler (AMFW) advanced 3.7% to 487.4p after it sealed long-term contracts in Brunei and Kuwait with undisclosed values.

Property developer Segro (SGRO) fell 4.8% as it snapped up the remaining 50% stake in the Airport Property Partnership joint venture it does not already own from Aviva Group Entities for £365m. Management said the acquisition aims to position the firm to take advantage of the recent decision to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

It is being funded by a fully underwritten 1 for 5 rights issue at 345p, which means shareholders can buy one share at the discounted price for every five they already hold.

Annuities provider JRP (JRP) was marked 4.2% higher on a strong set of numbers which revealed a 58% rise in 2016 operating profit to £164m with the promise of 'more to come'. The business was formed through the merger of Just Retirement and Partnership Asssurance in April 2016 in part as a reaction to changes to the UK pensions set up.

Challenger bank Aldermore (ALD) declined 6.2% as major shareholder Anacap sold £113.7m worth of stock in the company at a discounted price of 220p per share.

Brick maker Ibstock (IBST) also suffered from a major shareholder exit some of its holding at a discount. Diamond SARL sold £97m slug at 200p per share, causing the shares to fall 3.6%.


Kodal Minerals (KOD) raised £500,000 and agreed to start negotiations for an off-take agreement for future spodumene concentrate produced from its Bougouni Lithium project in Southern Mali. It also suggested a potential further investment in the company of up to £4.3m, prompting the stock to soar 39%.

Story provided by