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LONDON MARKETS: Oil Majors Lead FTSE 100 Out Of Five-day Slump

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Oil firms led U.K. stocks higher on Friday after HSBC initiated coverage of several energy giants with overweight ratings, while the broader benchmark index recovered after a five-day losing streak. The FTSE 100 index rose 0.8% to 6,547.52, after closing at the lowest level since mid-October on Thursday. Shares of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) climbed 2.7% after HSBC initiated coverage of the oil major with an overweight rating. HSBC also started coverage of BP PLC (BP), 0.8% higher, and BG Group PLC , up 0.7%, with overweight ratings. The analysts said the sector remains out of favor with investors, but that the companies' robust underlying cash flows aren't being recognized. Oil prices were lower. The London index moved a notch higher in afternoon trade after U.S. jobs data showed the labor market in the world's largest economy is improving. The unemployment rate fell to 7% in November from 7.3% in October and the nonfarm-payrolls report showed 203,000 new jobs were added to the economy, with both figures beating analyst estimates. Among other movers in London, shares of Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LYG) gained 1.6% after the bank said it has sold a portfolio of nonperforming Irish retail mortgages for 257 million pounds ($420.4 million) in cash. Vodafone Group PLC (VOD) put on 1.7% after Berenberg lifted the telecom firm to buy from hold and Exane BNP Paribas upgraded it to neutral from underperform. Pennon Group PLC picked up 0.7% after Barclays upped the water-utility firm to overweight from equal weight. And also on the ratings theme, Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC traded 0.9% higher after Citigroup lifted the company to neutral from sell. Outside the main index, Domino's Pizza Group PLC slid 6.4% after Chief Executive Lance Batchelor quit to take up a role at a "significant private-equity backed company." More must-reads from MarketWatch: European stocks aim to break five-day losing streak Jobs, market breadth and the data that screams more gains in 2014 3 low-risk stocks for market skeptics Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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