HP jumps in premarket trading, while oil falls on OPEC news

Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.1 percent higher to 7,521.88. They wanted more evidence that a recent slowdown in US growth was "transitory before taking another step" to raise rates.

Libya, along with Nigeria and Iran, was exempted from the original agreement, struck in November 2016, as its oil production was affected by factors other than the global glut that sank prices in 2014, according to the report.

Sterling lost ground on Wednesday as investors turned their attention to the release of minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting, which was expected to give clues about the U.S. central bank's next rate hike.

Euro zone borrowing costs also fell after what was seen as a sign central banks would be wary of stepping back too quickly from ultra-loose policies that have supported their economies. The comments indicate policymakers are sticking to their plans to gradually remove the stimulus that has helped prop up stock markets for years. "The prospect of a third U.S rate increase by the Federal Reserve in 2017 still remains under threat, especially when considering how Trump uncertainty still remains a major theme". Chinese markets appeared to be more focused on growing speculation that MSCI might include mainland Chinese shares to its benchmark next month.

Halfords jumped 11.4p to 370.2p as investors focused on a 3.9 per cent rise in retail sales in the 15 weeks to April 28, pointing to a small recovery following a 1.2 per cent drop in like-for-like retail sales in the three months to March 31.

Earlier, Asian stocks, as measured by MSCI gained nearly 1 percent to a two-year high. Taiwan's benchmark fell and indexes in Southeast Asia were mostly higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.4 percent to 2,415.07.

Brent crude dropped by $2.60, to $51.36 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate dropped by $2.58, to $48.78 a barrel.

The alliance is extending its 1.8 million barrel per day supply cut, equivalent to about 2% of global oil production, until the first-quarter of 2018.

At Thursday's meeting in Vienna, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-OPEC producers agreed to extend a pledge to cut around 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of the first quarter of 2018.

"With Russia and Saudi announcing nine months (of extended cuts) a week before, this was already priced in, so the market wanted the "over-and-above" which didn't come - hence the sell-off", said Virendra Chauhan, oil analyst at Energy Aspects in Singapore, referring to a statement by Saudi Arabia and Russia earlier in May that a none months extension to the cut was needed.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.83 yen from 111.50 yen.

  • Zachary Reyes