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Oil rises and equities buoyed by US China talks

Donald TrumpClosing report – Oil prices rose more than 2% on hopes that the US and China talks in Beijing will resolve their trade standoff.

Brent crude futures were up $1.46, or 2.49%, at $60.18 per barrel. US West Texas Intermediate futures were at $51.16 per barrel up 2.77%, the first time this year that US crude has topped $50.

Both crude price benchmarks added to Tuesday’s 2% gains and have now been on the rise for eight days in a row – their longest rally since June 2017.

However, the credit rating agency Fitch is warning that the ongoing shutdown of the US federal government could cause the country to lose its triple-A sovereign credit rating this year. The US government has now been partially shut for over two weeks, with President Donald Trump insisting he will keep it closed for “as long as it takes” to get congressional funding for his proposed border wall.

In London, the FTSE 100 enjoyed a further gain, trading at 6938 in mid-day trade. It slipped back to 6906 at the close, up 45 points.

Sainsbury’s shares rose 2.3% despite its Christmas trading update showing a fall in sales. Taylor Wimpey rose 6.2% following a positive update.

Fashion chain Ted Baker shrugged off the recent controversy around its founder and its shares shot up 31.2%  while Greggs was up 6.7% after raising its profit outlook.

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