MARKET REPORT: Oil stocks soar as crude price rockets to $113 a barrel

Global oil prices have continued to climb amid the war in Ukraine, lifting shares in Shell and BP.

Brent crude jumped to over $113 a barrel at one point, its highest level in almost eight years, on mounting fears that sanctions could see Russian supplies cut off. West Texas Intermediate climbed to $110 a barrel for the first time since 2014.

The surge came despite a decision by the International Energy Agency, which comprises 30 countries including the US and the UK, to release 60m barrels of oil from emergency stockpiles to reduce pressure on supplies.

Gushing profits: Brent crude jumped to over $113 a barrel, its highest level in almost eight years, on mounting fears that sanctions could see Russian supplies cut off

Gushing profits: Brent crude jumped to over $113 a barrel, its highest level in almost eight years, on mounting fears that sanctions could see Russian supplies cut off

Shell shares were up 5 per cent, or 96.5p, to 2047.5p while BP bounced 4.8 per cent, or 17.3p, to 374.4p.

It was a strong session for Britain’s housebuilders as big players cashed in on the UK’s property boom. Persimmon, London’s biggest listed builder, jumped 2.1 per cent, or 48p, to 2370p after posting a pre-tax profit of £973million for 2021, up from £863million the previous year.

The firm completed 14,551 homes during the year, 976 more than in 2020, while the average selling price jumped to £237,078 from £230,534.

Vistry also had a bumper year, with profit more than trebling to £319.5million from £98.7million in 2020. 

It built 6,551 homes in 2021, up from 4,652, selling them for an average of £305,000, up from £303,000. It rose 5.5 per cent, or 52.4p, to 998p.

Housebuilders have raked in billions in profits during the pandemic as record-low interest rates, cheap mortgages and a desire for bigger properties after months in lockdown saw buyers pile into the market, sending prices soaring.

The surge showed no signs of slowing yesterday, as data from Nationwide indicated the price of the average home topped £260,000 for the first time in February.

The increase means the average British home has added £29,162 to its value over the last 12 months.

The FTSE 100 added 1.4 per cent, or 99.36 points, to 7429.56 while the FTSE 250 jumped 1.3 per cent, or 275.18 points, to 20,775.82.

Stock Watch – McKay Securities

Commercial property investor McKay Securities soared to a 14-year high following a takeover swoop.

Rival Workspace Group has made a £272million offer that has been backed by its directors.

Under the deal, investors will receive 209p in cash for each share they hold as well as 0.115 new Workspace shares.

The proposal values McKay at about 297p per share, a 33 per cent premium to its last closing price before the deal was announced. 

The stock was up 29.4 per cent, or 65.5p, at 288p. 

Markets attempted to rebound following several sessions of intense selling as the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine left many stocks looking cheap.

Budget airline Wizz Air suspended all flights to and from Ukraine and Russia.

Despite this, it ascended 5 per cent, or 151p, to 3164p after it reported a 402 per cent year-on-year increase in passengers carried to 1.9m last month as pandemic travel restrictions were eased.

CMC Markets, the trading platform run by Tory peer Lord Cruddas, jumped 5.3 per cent, or 12p, to 240p after unveiling plans for a £30million share buyback as a result of its ‘robust capital position’.

Scottish engineering group Weir surged 10.4 per cent, or 158p, to 1678.5p as the cost of the damage inflicted by a cyber attack in September came in at the lower end of expectations. It also posted an 18 per cent rise in profits for 2021 to £209million as its orders climbed 22 per cent to £2.2billion.

Music Magpie plunged 47.7 per cent, or 77.5p, to 85p as a demand boom sparked by the pandemic subsided. 

The company, which allows consumers to buy and sell second-hand CDs and electronics, saw profits slump 14 per cent to £7.9million in the year to the end of November, while revenues slipped 5 per cent to £145.5million.

FTSE 250 insurer Hiscox swung back into profit despite ‘elevated’ losses from natural disasters last year. 

The firm reported a profit from its underwriting operations of £162million in 2021, its highest in five years and up from a £278million loss the previous year. It rose 5.7 per cent, or 51p, to 946.8p.

Meanwhile, media and events firm Ascential added 8.1 per cent, or 25.4p, to 339.6p after a loss of £26.7million last year, down from a £171.3million loss a year earlier. Revenue rose to £349million from £230million.

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