THE FTSE 100 closed 2.2 per cent higher yesterday, fuelled by a rise in the oil price which prompted a strong rally in commodity stocks, and on hopes that the recession may be drawing to a close. The index was up 91.50 points at 4,340.71, after closing 1 per cent lower on Tuesday.<br /><br />“When (the oil price) rallies, I think people begin to get a little bit confident that demand is growing and therefore hopefully (global) economies are going to start turning around, and that’s why we’re seeing the rally in the markets,” said Mark Priest, senior equities trader at ETX Capital.<br /><br />Oil majors added the most points to the large cap index, holding on to gains despite crude prices reversing earlier gains and falling below $70 a barrel after US government data showed increases in US fuel inventories. <br /><br /><strong>BP, Royal Dutch Shell, BG Group, Tullow Oil</strong> and <strong>Cairn Energy</strong> rose between 0.4 and 4.2 per cent.<br /><br />Miners rose in sympathy, with <strong>Eurasian Natural Resources, Antofagasta, Xstrata, Kazakhmys</strong> and <strong>BHP Billiton</strong> adding 4.5 to 6.3 per cent, amid metal price strength.<br /><br /><strong>Vedanta Resources</strong> was the biggest blue-chip riser, up 9.9 per cent, after news the India-focused mining group has boosted the size of its share buy-back programme by 40 per cent to $350m (£212m).<br /><br />Hopes that Britain’s economy is emerging from recession got a boost from data which showed less of a decline in services and manufacturing activity, though doubts remain about the durability of any recovery. <br /><br /><strong>International Power</strong> grabbed the second spot on the FTSE 100 leaderboard, up 6.6 per cent after news the British utility is selling its Czech business to the Czech-Slovak investment firm J&T Group for £581m after costs, helping calm worries over its debt. Peer <strong>National Grid</strong> gained 1.37 per cent.<br /><br />Elsewhere, <strong>Marks & Spencer</strong> added 3.8 per cent as analysts nudged up their full-year profit forecasts for the high street retailer after it posted a smaller than expected decline in first-quarter underlying sales. <br /><br />Peer <strong>Next</strong> was also firmer, climbing 3.9 per cent.<br /><br />Banks were broadly higher, as the risk sensitive stocks responded well to increased investor confidence.<br /><br /><strong>Barclays, HSBC, Standard Chartered</strong> and <strong>Royal Bank of Scotland</strong> rose 1.4 to 3.5 per cent.<br /><br />On the downside, <strong>Man Group</strong> shed 5.6 per cent after going ex-dividend.