Aggreko led the FTSE 100 Index further above the 6000 level today after it was lifted by a deal to supply power to the firm that ran the crippled Fukushima power plant.
The temporary power supplier moved 5%, or 84p higher to 1678p, after it announced it will supply 200 megawatts of both gas and diesel-fired power to Tokyo Electric Power Company Incorporated (Tepco) for a minimum one-year term from June.
The Footsie, which gained more than 100 points on Friday following a cheery US unemployment report, added another 7.1 points to 6017 as it was also led higher by the mining sector and resurgent retail stocks.
The pound was up against the US dollar and the euro after construction figures revealed that input prices rose to a 31-month high, increasing speculation that the Bank of England will raise interest rates. Sterling was at 1.61 against the greenback and 1.13 against the single currency.
Higher commodity prices helped mining stocks make advances, with silver miner Fresnillo the session’s second biggest riser, up 46p to 1611p, while Eurasian Natural Resources added 8p to 965p.
They were joined on the risers board by a clutch of blue chip retail stocks as the sector attempted to shrug off the dire updates of last week.
B&Q owner Kingfisher, which recently delivered resilient trading figures, rose 4.7p to 258.5p while fashion chain Next added 46p to 20465p and Tesco cheered 4.8p to 393.8p.
But Dixons Retail, which warned over profits last week after worsening sales declines, dropped another 0.7p to 12p in the FTSE 250 and Comet parent Kesa Electricals was 1.9p lower at 115.8p.
Banks were lower after a critical report from MPs on the sector over the weekend and ahead of the keenly awaited spring update from the Independent Commission on Banking due next week. Lloyds Banking Group was 0.7p lower at 60.3p, while HSBC dropped 7.5p to 647.6p and Barclays slipped 1.15p to 288.3p.
In an otherwise quiet day for corporate news, Vodafone shares – down 0.3p to 178.8p – were in the spotlight after its deal with Vivendi, which will mean Vodafone returns another £4bn (€4.53bn) to shareholders by buying back shares.
Meanwhile, a stronger than expected Markit/CIPS survey on the construction sector helped sentiment after it emerged growth fell only slightly in March.
With the sector finishing the first quarter of 2011 on the front foot, shares in housebuilder Taylor Wimpey were up 0.7p to 41.6p, while Barratt Developments lifted 2.8p at 115.5p and Persimmon gained 11.6p at 463.4p.
The biggest Footsie risers were Aggreko up 84p to 1678p, Fresnillo ahead 46p at 1611p, Next up 46p at 2046p and GKN ahead 4.4p at 209.1p.
The biggest Footsie fallers were Man Group down 9.4p at 243.7p, Essar Energy off 11.3p at 461.6p, Randgold Resources down 95p at 5105p and Autonomy Corporation down 26p at 1577p.