London Markets: Oil companies help drive gains for London stocks

London stocks added to the biggest gains since 2008 on Wednesday, with oil companies leading the way higher as investors weighed up a massive U.S. economic stimulus package expected to be passed by the Senate later Wednesday.

The FTSE 100 index

UKX, +4.45%

 gained 1.8% to 5,546.93, after a 9% rally on Tuesday, a strong session marked by gains across the globe as investors grew optimistic that the U.S. would get full Congressional agreement.

After marathon talks into the early hours of Wednesday, the Senate and the White House reached agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus package to shore up the economy against the coronavirus. The Senate reconvenes at noon and is expected to easily pass the legislation, which will then go to the House of Representatives.

The biggest decliner in London was Rentokil Initial PLC

RTO, -8.18%

 , whose shares slid 17% after the pest control company said it expected a “much more significant” impact on operations in the second quarter and beyond from the coronavirus and pulled its guidance.

On the other end, shares of JD Sports Fashion PLC

JD, +20.16%

 surged 14% after the sports- fashion retailer confirmed Tuesday that it has has ample net cash resources and a strong balance sheet. The company has closed all stores in the U.S. and Europe, but it’s online site is up.

Shares of major oil company BP

BP, +11.60%

BP, +8.66%

 climbed 7%, even as U.S.

CL.1, +1.54%

and Brent prices

BRN.1, +0.70%

fell. Shares of Royal Dutch Shell Group

RDS.A, +8.44%

RDSA, +7.35%

 rose more than 3%.

Banks also rose, with Lloyds Banking Group

LLOY, +9.17%

 up more than 6%.

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