London shares climbing again

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Rollercoaster is an overused word for stock market fluctuations. But it's never more apposite than now - as London's stock market continues its scary rollercoaster ride

The FTSE 100 index today jumped 4 per cent soon after opening - after yesterday's 5 per cent fall, Wednesday's 7 per cent drop amid recession fears, and Monday's 8 per cent increase as the UK Government's banking rescue package was unveiled.

The recovery lasted throughout the day, with the index climbing more than 5 per cent as the markets closed.

Among the big winners were oil company shares after production cartel Opec prompted speculation it may act to halt a price fall by bringing forward the date of its important December meeting. BP was 6 per cent up and rival Royal Dutch Shell 7 per cent higher.

Opening trade today was buoyed by healthy rises in Asian markets and a near 5 per cent leap for New York's Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Banks were again experiencing mixed fortunes, with Lloyds TSB up more than 3 per cent but its proposed merger partner HBOS 1 per cent lower. Royal Bank of Scotland, which is set to gain £20 billion of Government funding, was 5 per cent higher.

Retailers were showing gains despite high street bellwether John Lewis reporting a sales drop of 4.8 per cent in the week to 11 October - the fourth successive weekly decline.

Tesco and Marks & Spencer were both up 1 per cent as the market rallied.

But there was a reminder of the fragile state of the economy after Inchcape, one of the UK's biggest car dealerships, issued a profits warning. Shares in the FTSE 250 firm slumped by more than a third as a result.

Matt Buckland, dealer at CMC Markets, said the volatile conditions were likely to persist as traders struggled to work out the bottom of the market.

He said: "Whilst this dilemma continues, it seems as if the volatility we've seen of late will struggle to fade and it's also going to be difficult to call an end to these choppy market conditions."

Oil prices fell below 70 dollars a barrel at one point yesterday on concerns over weakening demand. They are less than half the 147 dollar high seen in July.

The price ticked up a couple of dollars today in the wake of the Opec meeting announcement.