Insurers and commodities lead FTSE surge

Insurers and commodity stocks led a 4.5% surge on the London market today as investors cheered the prospect of further global economic aid.

Insurers and commodity stocks led a 4.5% surge on the London market today as investors cheered the prospect of further global economic aid.

The FTSE 100 Index rose 185.1 points to 4234 in mid-morning trade, with insurers Prudential and Aviva among the top blue chip risers.

London’s leading share index started the session with a 5% leap after US President Elect Barack Obama announced major spending plans to kick-start the economy.

News that Chinese officials were weighing fresh stimulus measures amid more US economy fears.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose nearly 9% overnight, while the Nikkei 225 Index in Japan gained

5%.

In London, commodity stocks joined insurers on the risers board, buoyed by the hopes of an upturn in demand.

Miners gained strongly, with Anglo American up 127p to 1363p, or 10%, BHP Billiton cheering 83.5p to 1059p and Vedanta Resources up 52.5p to 576.5p.

Oil also bounced back from four year lows to above $43 a barrel on rumours of an imminent production cut from oil cartel Opec, lifting BG Group 70p to 858p, BP 26.25p to 504.25p and Royal Dutch Shell 88p to 1602p.

But Prudential was the biggest gainer, ahead 36.75p to 327.75p, with Aviva up 33.75p to 390.25p.

Premier Inn firm Whitbread meanwhile saw shares rise 48.5p to 810.5p as it reported “robust” trading despite announcing plans to curtail its growth next year.

In the second tier, Talk Talk firm Carphone Warehouse fell 4% after its co-founder David Ross quit following his failure to declare use of his shares as backing against personal loans.

Mr Ross owns almost a fifth of the company.

His departure comes soon after Carphone warned that next year would be the most challenging economic climate ever faced by the firm and caused shares to drop 3.75p to 89.25p.

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