Oil rises as producers agree to meeting

London Stock ExchangeThur close: Oil prices rose after it was confirmed that a meeting will take place between big oil producers in March.

Russia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar will discuss output, and Saudia Arabia in particular has been under pressure to cut production.

Brent Crude reversed earlier falls to trade at $35.55 a barrel, up $1.14 or 3.3%, in early evening trade.

However, analysts remained sceptical that output levels will be cut.

“It’s baffling, as everyone knows of this meeting and that it’s not going to achieve anything,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital, a New York energy hedge fund.

Stocks rallied as Lloyds Banking Group announced a special dividend and saw its shares rise 13%.

RSA Insurance was a top riser after it reported a better-than-expected 43.3% jump in full year operating profit to £523m as its restructuring paid off in 2015. Shares peaked at 446p, before closing up 9.8% at 433.2p.

UK gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2015 was unrevised and in line with forecasts, rising 0.5% on the previous quarter and 1.9% year-on-year. It compares to third quarter GDP growth of 0.4% quarter-on-quarter and 2.1% year-on-year.

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