FTSE moves back into positive ground

The FTSE 100 Index appears to have put nerves behind it as top flight shares moved firmly into positive territory after an early dip.

The FTSE 100 Index appears to have put nerves behind it as top flight shares moved firmly into positive territory after an early dip.

The blue chip index sat 24.9 points above its opening mark at 4282 by mid-morning as strong UK manufacturing output figures offering fresh signs of better times ahead for the economy, helped lift the mood.

And despite disappointing US economic data and slow Wall Street trading on Friday, traders are looking for a positive start to dealing in New York later in the day.

Mining stocks were among those in favour - continuing the recent strong run for the sector - with Xstrata leading the way putting on 12p at 512p while RioTinto rose 19p to 1409p and Anglo American gained 11.5p to sit at 1215p.

But insurer Royal & Sun Alliance was again on the back foot, leading the Footsie fallers with a 3% or 3.25p fall to 124.75p as investors continued to fret over its plans for a fund raising announced last week.

Outside the top flight builders merchants Travis Perkins climbed 37.5p to 1296p after posting a sharp rise in first half profits and increasing its dividend to shareholders.

Another strong set of results from the housebuilding sector - this time from Bovis Homes - gave shares a lift.

While Bovis itself climbed 6p to 480p, Bellway gained 11.5p to 664.5p and Berkeley rose 13.5p.

Meanwhile pubs group Punch Taverns gained 8p at 308p as investors welcomed news of a £250 million refinancing deal to fund expansion.

But Associated British Foods failed to impressed with trading update which included predictions of a better-than-expected second half. Shares fell a penny to 509.5p.

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