FTSE on the rise

Supermarket Tesco rung up share gains today as the wider FTSE 100 Index also powered ahead thanks to commodity stock advances.

FTSE on the rise

Supermarket Tesco rung up share gains today as the wider FTSE 100 Index also powered ahead thanks to commodity stock advances.

Tesco was among the leading risers, up 2% or 9.4p to 429.4p, after its third quarter figures came in marginally above market expectations.

Higher metal and oil prices saw mining shares surge, which gave the Footsie a boost - up 65.9 points to 5836.

Oil surged to $90.38 a barrel, having risen past $90 for the first time in two years last week.

BP lifted 2% or 8.5p to 458.5p, while among miners Antofagasta was 62p higher at 1519p.

Tesco's third quarter figures provided the main focus in corporate news after it said like-for-like sales were up 1.5% in the three months to November 27.

This was better than the 1.2% increase during the first half despite easing food price inflation.

The retail giant admitted the recent snow disruption had since impacted sales, but said lost ground would likely be recovered as consumers stock up over the next few weeks.

Wolseley's trading update was also well received, with shares up 5% or 83p to 1913p after it said first quarter trading had been better than it expected thanks to a strong performance in the US.

The Plumb Center parent reported first quarter like-for-like sales up 4%.

Fellow FTSE 100 stock Standard Life joined it on the risers board after the insurer announced a £42m (€49.55m) deal to buy financial services technology provider Focus Solutions Group.

The takeover is expected to make it easier for the group's intermediaries to sell to clients and helped boost shares by 5.1p to 209.3p.

Bank shares pulled back from early session losses as wider sentiment turned, despite concerns over Europe's debt crisis continuing to dog the sector, which is seen as being exposed to many of the troubled countries.

Barclays rose 2.9p to 265.9p and Royal Bank of Scotland lifted 0.8p to 41.9p.

In the FTSE 250, a profits upgrade from Bellway sent housebuilding stocks racing higher.

Bellway added 38p to 596p - a gain of 7% - as it said interim profits would be up 20% as buyer interest has returned since the government spending review.

Rival Persimmon rose 28.5p to 411.2p, Charles Church owner Barratt Developments followed with a 5.5p rise to 84.3p and Taylor Wimpey was 1.9p higher at 29.1p.

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