Wood Group was sitting pretty at the top of the index as oil prices advanced, with West Texas Intermediate up 3.1% at $48.60 a barrel and Brent crude 2.9% higher at $57.65.
Schroders was also on the front foot after Exane BNP Paribas upgraded the asset manager to ‘outperform’ from ‘neutral’.
Miners were the best-performing sector, with Antofagasta, Glencore and Anglo American up following the release of upbeat Chinese services data and news of more economic stimulus form the PBOC.
The Caixin China services purchasing managers’ index ticked up 53.9 in December from 53.8 in November, beating expectations for a reading of 52.9.
In addition, the People’s Bank of China said it would be cutting the required reserve ratio for banks by 0.5 percentage point on 15 January, with a further 0.5 percentage point cut on 25 January. China’s central bank said the cut will release a net 800 billion yuan ($116 billion) of liquidity.
Paper and packaging company Mondi was among the risers following a note on the sector by Jefferies. Analyst Cole Hathorn noted that UK packaging stocks have slumped since last October but said they could re-rate if pricing fears prove to be too pessimistic.
He highlighted buy-rated Mondi as his top pick on the back of attractive margins, balance sheet and a more diversified business model.
On the downside, Sainsbury’s was under the cosh after a downgrade to ‘reduce’ from ‘hold’ by HSBC and as Jefferies cut its price target on the stock to 285p.
Tesco and Wm Morrison were also in the red following price targets cut at both Jefferies and HSBC.