LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Set To Break 5-day Losing Run As Oil Stages Slight Rebound

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

GKN slumps after CEO designate ousted

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U.K. stocks rose for the first time in six sessions on Thursday, boosted by a rebound in oil prices and taking inspiration from an upbeat day in Asia.

On the economic docket, U.K. retail sales are the highlight for the day when they come out at 9:30 a.m. London time, or 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

What markets are doing: The FTSE 100 index was slightly higher at 7,374.91, after ending at its lowest level since Sept. 28 on Wednesday following five straight sessions of losses.

The pound bought $1.3163, down from $1.3170 late Wednesday in New York.

What's driving the markets: A slight recovery in oil prices on Thursday was well-received and helped lift the FTSE's energy companies. Crude oil rose 0.2% to $55.43 a barrel, after settling at its lowest level in almost two weeks on Wednesday after data showed a surprise jump in U.S. stockpiles.

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Shares of BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) rose 0.8%, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) (RDSB.LN) climbed 0.6%.

Traders were also encouraged by a positive trading day in Asia (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tencent-earnings-buoy-hong-kong-index-nikkei-looks-to-snap-loss-streak-2017-11-15), where Japan's Nikkei snapped a six-session losing streak.

What strategists are saying: The positive start is "helped by fresh gains in Asia, shrugging off several days of losses that potentially puts an end to a commodity sector inspired selloff, giving bulls some hope of a turnaround. Sentiment has been helped by oil finding support, offering respite to the key energy sector, with further help at hand from sector M&A talk Downunder," said analysts at Accendo Markets in a note.

Stock movers: Shares of 3i Group PLC (III.LN) rose 3.3% after the international investment manager it is on track to deliver another strong year of growth in its private-equity portfolio.

British Land Co. PLC (BLND.LN) added 1.7% after the real-estate company said it swung to a first-half profit.

On a downbeat note, shares of GKN PLC (GKN.LN) slid 7.5% after the engineering group ousted its CEO designate Kevin Cummings amid problems at the aerospace unit he ran.

Prudential PLC (PRU.LN) slipped 0.4% even as the insurer said it continues to benefit from powerful demand drivers (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/prudential-new-business-profit-rises-17-2017-11-16) and its established platforms in Asia, the U.S., and the U.K. and Europe.

Outside the FTSE 100, Royal Mail PLC (RMG.LN) inched 0.3% higher after revenue rose in the first half (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/royal-mail-profit-down-warns-on-letter-volume-2017-11-16).

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 16, 2017 04:04 ET (09:04 GMT)