- Comments from the head of the US Federal Reserve Jerome Powell which suggest the pace of rate increases across the pond might slow are providing a boost to global stock markets.

By the close the FTSE 100 was up 2.2% to 6,838.24. Index heavyweights BP and Royal Dutch Shell are particularly strong as oil prices surge 4% off the back of Powell's intervention, which came despite a better than expected US jobs report.

At around 4.30pm UK time the S&P 500 was up some 2.8% at 2,515.35.

On a pretty quiet day for corporate news, musical retailer Gear4music plummeted 53% to 239.9p on a warning that earnings in 2019 will be 'slightly below' the prior year.

Pharmaceutical company Circassia warned it may need 'third-party funding' or a loan facility via partner AstraZeneca to meet a deferred option payment relating to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Tudorza. Shares in Circassia fell 9.1% to 50p.

Cambria Automobiles revealed trading in the three months to November had been in line with management expectations despite new car sales falling following regulatory changes. Shares in the car seller ticked up 0.7% to 54.9p.

Shares in textile rental provider Johnson Service advanced 3.5% to 120p as full-year results are expected to meet market expectations thanks to growth continuing in the first half of the year.

Smart home devices specialist LightwaveRF revealed an upbeat first quarter update thanks to a strong performance around Black Friday, triggering a 13.3% share price rally to 8p.

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