FTSE closes above landmark 6000 mark

The FTSE 100 Index closed above the 6000 threshold for the first time since May today buoyed by record levels in the US.

The FTSE 100 Index closed above the 6000 threshold for the first time since May today buoyed by record levels in the US.

Corus, formerly known as British Steel, led the way with a gain of 16% after it emerged that a smaller India-based rival was mulling over a takeover bid.

And with the Dow Jones Industrial Average at record levels over the Atlantic and interest rates kept on hold in the UK, positive sentiment drove the Footsie forward to close 38 points up at 6004.5.

Corus shares raced ahead following an announcement that Tata Steel, part of the wider Tata Group, was considering whether to table a bid for the company.

It stressed Corus was just one of a number of possibilities it was thinking about, but it was enough to send the stock 66.25p higher to 473.75p.

Mining heavyweights helped add bulk to the market as metal prices began climbing in value. BHP Billiton followed Corus up the leaders board with a rise of 36p to 906p, while Rio Tinto was also on the up – this time by 86p to 2487p - and Antofagasta bounced 12.25p to 463.25p.

The recovering cost of crude oil also offered a boost to BP and Royal Dutch Shell. Crude had dipped below $59 a barrel in New York earlier this week, but edged back above $60 today. BP lifted 5p to 575p and Royal Dutch Shell was up 14p to 1774p.

But the rising cost of fuel was not such good news for British Airways which slid 8.25p to 442p, while cruise operator Carnival also felt the pinch falling 16p to 2590p.

Elsewhere in the airline sector, newly-listed Aer Lingus jumped by 15% to €2.90, following a surprise offer from Ryanair, which slipped 9c to €8.62.

Outside the top flight, a trading statement from cycle and car accessory retailer Halfords failed to impress with shares slipping almost 1%.

The company said total sales grew by 9.3% in the 26 weeks to September 29, but it did not stop the stock falling 3.25p to 335p after one analyst suggested the update was not as good as expected.

Meanwhile, fashion brand Ted Baker was also on the slide despite reporting a 10.4% rise in retail sales and unveiling plans for new stores in the Far and Middle East. The stock lost 11.25p to 481p or more than 2%.

But Middlesbrough-based D1 Oils rocketed almost 4% – or 7p – to 196.5p after announcing a deal to supply biodiesel to oil refiner Petroplus. It also detailed plans to expand its green fuel production plant.

The day’s biggest blue chip risers were Corus up 66.25p to 473.75p, BHP Billiton up 36p to 906p, Rio Tinto up 86p to 2487p and BG up 21.5p to 646.5p

The day’s biggest blue chip fallers were Xstrata down 165p to 2015p, British Airways down 8.25p to 442p, Alliance Boots down 14.5p to 780p and British Sky Broadcasting down 9p to 545p.

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