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Weak GDP leaves traders unimpressed

London Stock ExchangeThur close: Unexciting fourth quarter economic growth data subdued the market and forced the leading index back into the red. The FTSE 100 fell 59 points to 5,932

UK GDP rose 0.5% quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of 2015, up from 0.4% in the third quarter, as expected by analysts.

However, year-on-year GDP growth fell to 1.9% in the fourth quarter from 2.1% in the previous quarter.

GDP also slowed overall in 2015 to an annualised rate of 2.2% from 2.9% a year earlier.

Analysts said the figures showed the recovery ended the year on a slightly lacklustre note.

Interest rates will almost certainly remain unchanged when the Bank of England committee meets next month.

The Federal Open Market Committee also showed some caution over the world economy as it voted unanimously to maintain rates at 0.50%. There now seems to be a shift away from expectations of four rate rises this year.

Oil prices edged up on reports that Russia might cooperate with Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries to control the global oversupply. Brent crude rose 3.7% to $34.38 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate increased 3.4% to $33.45 per barrel in late afternoon trade.

Oil stocks rose, including Royal Dutch Shell, BP, BG Group, Tullow Oil and Petrofac.

Shareholders in BG Group and Shell have approved their proposed merger that will create the world’s largest liquefied natural gas trader.

FirstGroup fell after the transport company lowered its operating profit guidance for the current financial year amid a challenging trading environment. It said it had also been hit by the bad weather.

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