FTSE back above 6000

Strong gains for mining, oil and banking stocks powered the FTSE 100 Index back above the 6000 barrier today.

Strong gains for mining, oil and banking stocks powered the FTSE 100 Index back above the 6000 barrier today.

The Footsie closed 56 points higher at 6015.2, although it had advanced 76.8 points at one point as market worries about the impact of higher interest rates in the United States continued to recede.

Kazakhmys ignited the mining sector with impressive results, while sales at Boots and a further bout of takeover speculation involving Alliance & Leicester and Royal Bank of Scotland drove shares in the banking sector.

The London Stock Exchange took some of the shine off the session, however, as the second-tier stock lost part of its bid premium following New York-based Nasdaq’s decision to end its interest in the bourse.

The joy surrounding copper miner Kazakhmys came after it posted a 53.2% increase in full-year pre-tax profits to £487.5m (€700m).

The newcomer to the FTSE 100 Index jumped 9%, or 88.5p to 1042p, while lifting prospects for the rest of the sector as Antofagasta added 102p to 2160p, BHP Billiton cheered 48.5p to 1071.5p and Rio Tinto rose 150p to 2981p.

The miners were joined on the risers board by Royal Dutch Shell, which gained 22p to 1885p, and BP – ahead 1.5p at 670p.

For Alliance & Leicester, shares spent much of the session at a record high as takeover speculation centred on a report of an informal approach from Credit Agricole, although Spanish bank Santander is also thought to be in the frame - lifting A&L shares by 27p to 1217p.

Another of the market’s favoured bid targets, Royal Bank of Scotland, continued to attract buying interest with a rise of 43p to 1895p. Barclays was on the front foot, up 11p at 679p, while HBOS added 17.5p to 976.5p.

Boots also rose following its surprise 2.2% rise in like-for-like sales for the fourth quarter.

Shares closed 11.5p higher at 724p but were dragged from earlier highs by a weak session for retailers. Merger partner Alliance UniChem added 11p to 912p.

In the second tier, the LSE fell 76.5p to 1043.5p, a drop of almost 7% as investors came to the terms with the loss of the latest in a long line of potential suitors. Euronext, Deutsche Boerse and Macquarie have fallen by the wayside, although the New York Stock Exchange is still seen as a possible buyer.

Elsewhere, software company Misys dipped 11.5p to 223p, a decline of 5%, following its decision to keep hold of its financial support services arm Sesame. Analysts had hoped the company would use the proceeds for acquisitions, particularly in targeting higher growth markets.

Robert Wiseman Dairies fared better as a forecast of better-than-expected profits lifted shares by 16.5p to 312.75p.

The biggest Footsie risers were Kazakhmys up 88.5p at 1042p, Rio Tinto ahead 150p at 2981p, Antofagasta up 102p at 2160p and Xstrata ahead 88p at 1892p.

The biggest fallers were ITV down 2p at 125p, BG Group off 9.5p at 724.5p, Compass Group down 3p at 229p and Persimmon off 15p at 1317p.

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