FTSE keeps close to opening mark

Imperial Tobacco shares rose 2% today after the cigarette maker won a landmark case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Imperial Tobacco shares rose 2% today after the cigarette maker won a landmark case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The company said it was “pleased but not surprised” by the court’s decision to reject Margaret McTear’s bid to sue it following the death of her husband Alfred from lung cancer in 1993.

Imperial was among the strongest performing stocks as the FTSE 100 Index stuck close to its opening mark, down 1.7 points at 4984.6, despite buoyant mining shares and a strong session for world markets on Monday.

In the first day of trading following the holiday weekend, mining stocks booked five of the top seven spots on the Footsie risers board. Xstrata topped the list with a gain of 24p to 1000p while Antofagasta lifted 27p to 1163p and Rio Tinto cheered 29p to 1647p.

The sector was helped by a report indicating stockpiles of copper had fallen to their lowest level in 15 years.

Amid relief that Imperial had avoided a legal precedent, shares in the FTSE 100 Index listed company rose 34p to 1485p. Rival Gallaher added 7.5p to 839p and BAT cheered 6p to 1050p.

On a negative note, services group Rentokil Initial slipped 2.25p to 151.75p, following a weekend report indicating that it could bid for rival PHS. Rentokil’s smaller counterpart lifted 2.75p to 98.75p.

International Power was also lower, along with a clutch of other power companies, after it said it was involved in a 70:30 joint venture to buy the Saltend plant near Hull for £500m (€738m). Shares in the company slipped 0.5p to 191.5p.

Among the retailers, Peacock rose 6p to 235.25p after it said like-for-like sales rose 3.6% in the year to March 31.

Primark owner AB Foods, which operates in a similar area to Peacock, rose 10.5p to 801.5p, helped further by a positive broker note on its sugar business.

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