Slight gain for FTSE

The London market reached another high for the year today as rising gold prices boosted miners and more merger news added to positive sentiment.

The London market reached another high for the year today as rising gold prices boosted miners and more merger news added to positive sentiment.

Gold prices rose above $1,000 (€688.34) an ounce to peak at their highest level since last March.

The FTSE 100 Index closed up 14.2 points at 4947.3 - its best finish since last October - as further gains for takeover target Cadbury and consolidation in the UK mobile phone sector also cheered investors.

It is the second year-high for the market in as many days as world markets continue to rise despite mixed signals.

US markets started the week following Monday's public holiday with a 0.4% rise after a pledge by the G20 nations to keep stimulus packages going eased concerns over the sustainability of the recovery.

Jimmy Yates, Head of Equities at CMC Markets said: "Mixed messages do not seem to be deterring traders from pushing this market higher so instead of the September slump it seems we may be in store for the September surge."

The latest gains in the mining sector came as gold, which is seen as a safe investment when the US dollar is under pressure, rose above the $1,000 barrier for the first time in six months.

Among the beneficiaries, Kazakhmys topped the Footsie leader board with a 6% rise, lifting 65p to 1078p. Fresnillo was up 34.5p to 714.5p and Rio Tinto's forecast of beating its iron ore production target for the year also lifted its shares 87.5p to 2552p.

The market's major story of the week, involving the possible takeover of Cadbury, continued to excite traders amid expectations that US food giant Kraft or a rival firm will table a higher offer, possibly in excess of £11bn (€12.5bn). Shares in the confectionery company edged up another 3p to 786p today.

Meanwhile, Vodafone shares were 2% higher, up 2.3p to 136.8p, after France's Orange and T-Mobile announced plans to join forces, possibly sparking further consolidation in the sector.

B&Q owner Kingfisher reaped short-lived benefits from its disclosure that half-year profits were likely to be ahead of City forecasts, in the region of £285 million and £290 million.

Shares climbed to a high for the year at one point before dropping back after the news which was released ahead of schedule due to an inadvertent data leak. They ended the day up 1p at 218p.

British Airways shares were 4% higher, up 8.2p to 201p, after Deutsche Bank started coverage of the stock with a hold rating and planemaker Airbus said airline traffic could start to rebound from next year.

In the FTSE 250 Index, pubs group Greene King lifted 2.5p to 482.5p after it disclosed stronger-than-expected trading in the 17 weeks to August 30.

The biggest Footsie risers were Kazakhmys up 65p at 1078p, Intercontinental Hotels adding 42p to 810p, Fresnillo up 34.5p at 714.5p and British Airways up 8.2p at 201p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Aviva down 13.2p at 399p, RSA Insurance down 3p at 124.5p, Legal & General off 1.65p at 71.75p and Centrica down 5.5p at 253.5p.

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