Shares across Europe have risen, helped by a rally in oil prices and hopes of more stimulus action by central banks, BBC reports. London’s FTSE 100 index was up more than 2%, with share indexes elsewhere in Europe showing similar gains. Shares had risen strongly on Thursday, following hints from the European Central Bank that it was considering more action to boost the eurozone’s economy.
The rise in shares comes at the end of a turbulent week for the markets. Stock markets had dived earlier in the week as investors fretted over falling oil prices and prospects for China’s economy.
In London, the benchmark FTSE 100 share index was up 141.09 points, or 2.4%, at 5,914.88 shortly before midday. Elsewhere in Europe, Germany’s Dax index was up 2.1% while in France the Cac 40 index was 3.3% higher. The recovery in stocks had begun on Thursday, following a press conference from European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi.
After the ECB had kept eurozone rates on hold, Mr Draghi hinted that the bank might take more action to try to stimulate the eurozone economy later this year. He said the bank would “review and possibly reconsider” monetary policy at its next meeting in March.
Mr Draghi also said eurozone rates would “stay at present or lower levels for an extended period” and there would be “no limits” to action to boost the eurozone. Earlier on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei index jumped by nearly 6%. The market there had been lifted by speculation that the Bank of Japan was considering a fresh wave of stimulus measures to try to boost the economy.
Markets have also been encouraged by a recovery in oil prices. Earlier this week, oil prices fell to their lowest level since 2003 – around $27 a barrel – after the International Energy Agency warned that oil markets could “drown in oversupply” in 2016.
However, on Friday the price of Brent crude was up $1.76 on the day at $31.01 a barrel, while US crude was $1.46 higher at $30.99 a barrel. The prospect of colder weather in the US and Europe was being cited as one factor behind the rise.
The US east coast is expected to be hit by a huge blizzard later on Friday.