FTSE rebounds

The FTSE 100 Index roared almost 3% ahead today as investors looking for bargains in the mining sector pushed the market higher.

The FTSE 100 Index roared almost 3% ahead today as investors looking for bargains in the mining sector pushed the market higher.

Metal prices rose as the impact of a deluge of poor economic news faded and traders decided that hard-hit commodities looked over-sold.

The Footsie finished 2.9% or 141.5 points up at 4965 - the highest close in more than a week which brought the 5000 market back into view.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.4% ahead after being closed yesterday for the long holiday weekend as investors looked past signs of slowing growth among US services firms.

Gains were also seen on indices across Europe, with the Cac 40 in France and Germany's Dax both registering gains of more than 2%. The pound edged below 1.52 against the dollar and stood at 1.20 against the single currency.

With just a handful of top-flight stocks in negative territory the Footsie risers board was led by miner Antofagasta, which cheered 57.5p to 818.5p or 7%, helped by the better sentiment.

BP meanwhile enjoyed its second positive session in a row with a gain of 12.2p to 345.5p - a rise of almost 4%. This followed Royal Bank of Scotland's decision to upgrade the stock from hold to buy and after the oil company insisted it would be able to meet the cost of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill without issuing new shares.

The positive session extended to banking stocks, with Barclays up 15.4p at 274.6p and Royal Bank of Scotland up 1.95p to 40.9p.

Housebuilders were in positive territory in the FTSE 250 Index after Persimmon reported a 25% rise in half-year turnover and said sales had returned to more normal levels since George Osborne's austerity Budget.

Charles Church owner Persimmon jumped 6% or 21.7p to 370.2p, while Barratt Developments was 5p higher at 98.9p.

Online gambling group PartyGaming was also enjoying a sharp rise after casino revenues grew despite the football World Cup.

Sales grew 6% in the first quarter of 2010 - helping shares rise 5%, or 10.7p to 231.5p - despite tougher conditions for its poker arm.

But fellow FTSE 250 stock N Brown, the home shopping firm, was nearly 5% lower with a 11.8p fall to 243.1p after it said like-for-like sales growth had slowed to 0.1% as consumer caution hit spending.

Elsewhere, educational software supplier RM was 1% off after revealing that the Government's decision to axe its school rebuilding scheme would put £200m (€239.9m) of projects at risk.

The shares recovered from an initial double digit drop as analysts said the impact was unlikely to affect RM's long-term future. RM finished 2p off at 160p.

The biggest Footsie risers were Antofagasta up 57.5p to 818.5p, Kazakhmys up 69.5p to 1037p, Xstrata up 54.8p at 905.8p and Icap up 23.8p to 416.8p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were African Barrick Gold down 16.5p to 584p, Pearson down 1.5p at 886p, WPP off 1p to 630.5p and Severn Trent down 1p to 1229p.

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