Miners kept a sluggish London market in positive territory today during a quiet session for blue chip stocks.
Higher metal prices and a broker upgrade for Kazakh miner Kazakhmys helped the heavily-weighted sector while high oil prices supported the petrochemical majors.
By mid-morning, the FTSE 100 Index had drifted 11.5 points higher to 6315.8 with little in the way of corporate news to drive trading.
Miners accounted for the top four risers, led by Kazakhmys, which was marked up by Credit Suisse analysts on prospects of higher copper prices.
This pushed the stock up nearly 6% or 101p to 1934p, while Kazakh stablemate Eurasian Natural Resources gained 23p to 1467p.
Other strong performers were Vedanta Resources and Anglo American – up 109p to 2670p and 115p to 3655p respectively – as the sector littered the risers’ board.
Meanwhile oil and gas firms made further progress on crude prices, which remain at elevated levels despite edging below US$126 a barrel today. BP gained 3p to 638p, while Royal Dutch Shell cheered 18p to 2135p.
The leading Footsie faller however was British Airways, down more than 5%, or 12.75p to 220.25p, after downgrades from analysts at ABN Amro and Deutsche Bank following annual results on Friday. The City is concerned over the impact of the high oil prices on the airline.
Another victim of the red pen was Royal Bank of Scotland, down 13.75p to 252.75p after Goldman Sachs lowered its target price on the firm.
Others in the sector followed RBS down, with Halifax Bank of Scotland slipping 13p to 456.25, and Alliance & Leicester off 12p at 429p.
Defence giant BAE Systems recovered some early losses after it emerged that two directors were briefly detained in the US last week in an investigation into bribery allegations denied by the firm.
Shares picked up slightly to stand 8.25p lower at 458.5p.