FTSE rallies

Pub groups and mining stocks led a rally on the London market today, adding to the boost from an overnight surge on Wall Street.

Pub groups and mining stocks led a rally on the London market today, adding to the boost from an overnight surge on Wall Street.

The FTSE 100 Index closed up 49.2 points at 6639.8, as blue chips benefited from positive investor sentiment on the other side of the Atlantic.

Pub giant Punch Taverns led the day’s share risers, gaining uplift along with the rest of the sector after better-than-expected profits and news of property spin-off plans from FTSE 250 rival Greene King.

Punch stock closed up 42p, or 3%, at 1262p as investors saw potential for property value to be realised as Greene King announced plans to separate out up to a third of its sites into operating and property companies.

Greene King was up 8%, or 76p, at 1036p in the second tier, while back in the top flight, Enterprise Inns also cheered 13.5p to 687p.

Miners, meanwhile, helped buoy the Footsie on the back of bid rumours and strong metal prices.

Lonmin was on the front foot, up 131p to 4310p as speculation of a potential bid from rival Xstrata persisted. The news helped lift stocks across the sector with Antofagasta ahead 18p at 646p and Anglo American up 64p at 3175p. Vedanta Resources also climbed 23p to 1656p and Xstrata surged 46p to 3104p.

Engine maker and engineering giant Rolls-Royce joined the risers board, up 2%, or 12p at 547.5p, after saying that it had experienced an “encouraging” performance in the second quarter of the year.

The group said it had benefited from a strong order flow, most notably at its Airbus operations.

Share fallers were thin on the ground, but former Anglo American group company Mondi, the European paper producer, started its first day on the Footsie badly, off 2%, or 10p at 490p.

Shares in the group had initially opened at 500p.

A broker downgrade from UBS saw oil and gas major BG Group drop 7.5p to 824p after UBS warned that it expected the recent strong flow of positive exploration updates from the company to slow.

Meanwhile, water utility group Severn Trent was up 1p at 1382p despite doubt being cast over the likely success of a bid for United Utilities, after speculation that the group had approached United with a 880p-a-share offer.

In the FTSE 250, Cambridge-based software firm Autonomy saw shares soar 13%, or 97p, to 825p after announcing a deal to buy an IT firm in the US and saying that it expected second quarter trading to beat analyst forecasts.

Comet parent group Kesa Electricals, too, fared well after it said it was considering putting its French business, BUT, up for sale having received preliminary approaches from a number of firms.

Shares in the group rose 7%, or 22.75p, to 337p.

The biggest Footsie risers were Punch Taverns up 42p at 1262p, Home Retail Group up 14.75p at 469.75p, Lonmin up 131p at 4310p and Antofagasta ahead 18p at 646p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Mondi down 10p at 490p, British Energy off 7.5p at 527p, Kelda Group down 12.5p at 943p and BG Group down 7.5p at 824p.

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