Third day of gains for EU stocks as BP gets $1.1 billion settlement on spill costs – Spread Betting

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Joshua Raymond is Market Strategist at spread betting provider City Index (http://www.cityindex.co.uk/). This is his daily report of the EU market activity for 20th May, including a third consecutive day of gains for EU stocks following a BP settlement.

"The FTSE 100 enjoyed its third day of straight gains on Friday to finish the week strongly, with BP shares leading after the firm received a $1.1 billion settlement from partner Mitsui & Co. BP's near 4% share price in trading this morning is helping to contribute around 12 points to the FTSE's charge alone.

The FTSE 100 has now rallied as much as 2.6% in just three days of trading, helping the UK Index to enjoy its best winning streak since the end of March. The oil sector has been a key driver behind the FTSE's charge this week, with the sector rallying nearly 5% since Wednesday, and the 1% gains in crude oil prices today helping to supplement these sector gains.

We have also seen decent gains in the insurance and utilities sectors too, which have both gained over 1%, whilst banking stocks and miners have also helped to provided the bullish platform to which trading has performed today.

There is a lack of important economic data out today and with US data turning rather negative this week, this allows traders to free up their hands somewhat without dwelling on which data may disappoint today.

BP shares jump 3.8% on $1.1 billion settlement We have seen strong buying in BP's shares this morning, helping to lift prices as much as 6% to trade at a new five-week high of 480p. The settlement with Mitsui & Co for $1.1 billion is being seen as a generic positive, not just in terms of the figure, but also in terms of what other doors it may open for further settlements down the road and a hedging of the overall cost of the spill. For a long time the weight of the burden of the cost and damage to brand has been centred purely on BP's shoulders. The settlement can be viewed as admission that BP were not solely responsible for the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and this may help to repair some of the damage to BP's political ties in the US. The news that one of its partners has agreed to shoulder part of that burden to the tune of $1.1 billion is no doubt welcome news to both shareholders and the board of BP, who will now move to use this settlement to encourage further spreading of the overall liability cost."

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