Mining stocks boost FTSE

Mining stocks led a rally for blue-chip stocks as the London market reversed losses seen earlier in the session.

Mining stocks led a rally for blue-chip stocks as the London market reversed losses seen earlier in the session.

Xstrata led the pack as it climbed more than 2%, or 17.5p to 797.5p, after copper prices rebounded from an eight-week low seen last week.

The heavily-weighted shares helped power the FTSE 100 Index 12.9 points ahead to 6653.8 as it continued to build on Friday’s near-seven-year highs.

Anglo American followed Xstrata up the leaders’ board with a rise of 64p to 2939p, while Lonmin was 83p higher at 3927p.

Pubs and restaurant group Mitchells & Butlers’ lost hold of early gains as enthusiasm over the potential sale of the All Bar One owner’s property assets began to fade.

The stock started the day leading the Footsie risers but then fell almost 2%, or 15p to 852.5p, by mid-morning, despite potential gains from a 50/50 joint venture with property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz.

However, rival pubs chain Punch Taverns rose 19p to 1397p as it benefited from Mitchells & Butlers’ property plans. The group had previously ruled out converting its property portfolio to tax-efficient REIT status.

Other early risers included pharmaceuticals firm Shire, which announced approval from US regulators for a new hyperactivity drug, lifting the firm 12p to 1182p.

The recent merger rumours surrounding the oil giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell continued to buoy their share prices, boosted by a broker note from ABN Amro which stated any bid for Shell could see shares hit £30. Shell was ahead 24p at 1930p and BP rose 7.5p to 589.5p.

In the second tier, strong full year results buoyed self-storage firm Big Yellow Group, up 26p at 617p, while support services group Mitie also pleased City watchers with better-than-expected results enhanced by its engineering division and its acquisition of Rentokil Initial’s manned guarding business. Mitie’s shares cheered 9.25p to 261.5p.

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