An unexpected rise in oil stockpiles in the US last week caused the price of crude to fall more than three dollars on Wednesday. US crude oil inventories rose by 800,000 barrels according to the Energy Information Administration as demand from refineries was down.
European shares finished the day 1% higher. Banks were the biggest gainers. Credit Agricole jumped 7.3%, Barclays rose 6.5%, Royal Bank of Scotland gained 4.5%, HSBC was up 1.6% and Santander advanced 2.7%.
Investors also noted new figures which showed weakness in the US economy, including lower sales of new single family homes, which were released just ahead of the Federal Reserve’s key interest rate announcement.