he stock market recoveries of BP and Royal Dutch Shell stepped up in pace today after Brent crude remained near to its highest price since the start of the pandemic.

The heavyweight pair were as much as 2% higher after a brief online meeting of OPEC+ ministers saw them stick by existing plans for the slow easing of supply curbs.

Brent traded at close to $71 a barrel, but analysts at UBS continue to see a positive outlook for prices with a forecast of $75 dollars a barrel. They said less drilling from non-OPEC+ countries made it easier to ensure production cuts support prices.

Chief investment officer Mark Haefele told wealth management clients: “We see energy firms as among the main beneficiaries of the broader global reflation trade, along with financials.”

Such opportunities for investors have contributed to the FTSE 100 index trading near its highest level in more than a year, with the top flight today up 13.56 points to 7,094.02.

Demand for raw materials amid the accelerating global economic recovery yesterday saw commodity stocks including Anglo American race ahead by as much as 4%.

P shares today rose 4p to 318.8p to near their highest level this year, while Royal Dutch Shell was 18.6p stronger at 1,325p. Other stocks in recovery mode included Rolls-Royce, which climbed 2.12p to 11.06p, and Burberry after improving 70p to 2,178p.

B&Q owner Kingfisher was the biggest faller in the FTSE 100 after announcing a new £550 million revolving credit facility. The new borrowing agreement comes with an environmental twist, with lower interest rates if the group meets ambitious sustainability targets.

Kingfisher said the move showed its commitment to responsible business, although the move still sent shares 8.4p lower to 353p.

The FTSE 250 index edged up another 17.94 points to 22,892.93, helped by a 3% rise for shopping centre owner Hammerson.

ITV shares were 1.6p lower to 129.9p, despite last night’s closing price being enough to secure the broadcaster’s promotion back to the top flight later this month. It replaces engineer Renishaw, which only became a FTSE 100 stock in the last quarterly reshuffle.

Extracted in full from: FTSE 100 latest: BP and Shell top risers as oil hits pre-pandemic high | Evening Standard