By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
Oil stocks climbed in London on Wednesday, helping drive a rally for the overall market as crude prices staged a recovery after two days of heavy selling.
Shares of BP PLC /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP +0.77% /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP -0.32% and Royal Dutch Shell Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/205095589/composite RDS.A +1.27% — /zigman2/quotes/207682964/composite RDS.B +1.08% /zigman2/quotes/206428183/delayed UK:RDSA +0.25% both heavyweights in London — climbed around 4% each as June crude futures /zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed CL.1 +0.17% jumped nearly 30% and Brent climbed 10%. That’s after May U.S. crude futures turned negative on Monday, a historical first, and selling continued into Tuesday.
The FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.38% rose 2.3% to 5,770.63, reversing a chunk of Tuesday’s nearly 3% loss. The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.0860% gained 0.3% to $1.2329.
Irish-based home-building material group CRH PLC stocks /zigman2/quotes/201759252/delayed UK:CRH +1.20% rose over 5% after the Irish building-materials supplier said same-store sales rose 3% in the first quarter and it will pay a dividend, but has postponed buybacks and is making moves to conserve cash, including cutting senior management and board pay.
“CRH is in a very strong position in terms of liquidity as it has $6 billion in cash. The group is proposing a final dividend, which makes it stand out from the crowd, as these days many companies are canceling their cash payouts,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, in a note to clients.
In that same sector, shares of Taylor Wimpey PLC /zigman2/quotes/208623755/delayed UK:TW -0.39% and Barratt Developments /zigman2/quotes/209812640/delayed UK:BDEV -1.98% rose over 4% and Persimmon PLC /zigman2/quotes/206444744/delayed UK:PSN -0.70% gained over 3%.
On the data front, the U.K. consumer-price index 12-month inflation rate fell to 1.5% in March 2020, down from 1.7% in February 2020, the Office for National Statistics reported on Wednesday. The biggest contribution to the inflation rise was from housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, while gasoline and clothing prices provided the biggest downward pressure.