Adding coppers to value of the FTSE
MINING stocks led the Footsie higher yesterday on the back of record copper prices.
There was a positive mood across world markets despite another day of protests in Egypt, as the Footsie climbed 53.65 points to 6,051.03, a rise of 0.9 per cent.
CMC Markets head of equities Jimmy Yates said: "A fresh year high is being eyed with worries over the impact euro zone debt problems and the political troubles in the Middle East fading.
"It will be interesting to see if traders have the mettle to see it through that level (6,090.49] and hold onto gains."
Nicole Elliott, a technical analyst at Mizuho Corporate Bank, said the index was not far short of substantial resistance levels, with January's high at around 6,090 and the 2006 high of 6,137 both being watched.
The resilient mood will be tested in the week ahead, with results due from Diageo and Rolls-Royce and the decision from the Bank of England as policymakers grapple with inflationary pressures. In America, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.7 per cent in early trading, spurred on by a series of takeover announcements. Online giant AOL said it will buy the online newspaper the Huffington Post for $315 million (195m) and London-based oil rig operator Ensco said it had agreed to buy Pride International, another offshore driller, for $7.3 billion.
The pound pushed higher against both the euro and the dollar on speculation that the Bank of England may raise its base rate from its record low of 0.5 per cent on Thursday. Sterling was at $1.61 and €1.19.
As copper prices hit a record $10,122 a tonne, stocks in weighty miners made strong gains. UK-Swiss firm Xstrata, boosted by a broker upgrade from Citigroup, added 50.5p to 1,467.5p, while Rio Tinto was up 128p at 4,625p and Vedanta Resources was ahead 45p at 2,432p. Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy - which is in talks to sell its Indian operations to Vedanta - was up 9.1p at 435.4p, a rise of 2.1 per cent. Shares fell on Friday following reports that Vedanta may walk away from the deal but Cairn made reassuring noises over the weekend, following talks with India's oil minister.
Chipmaker ARM was at the top of the risers' board as it surged nearly 4 per cent after stockbroker Numis upgraded revenue forecasts for the Cambridge-based firm.
ARM's shares have had a stellar run in recent weeks following a deal struck with software giant Microsoft and speculation over a potential takeover by rival Intel. Shares were ahead 23p at 611p.
Packaging giant Rexam made a rare appearance near the top of the index, after reports suggested the world's biggest beverage-can maker was set to sell a division that makes drink containers for more than 200m. Shares were up 12.2p at 368.9p.
Banks were among other stocks on the front foot as Barclays lifted 4.65p to 312.75p and Lloyds Banking Group cheered 0.8p to 64.6p.London-based oil and gas specialist hedge fund BlueGold Capital continued to build its stake in Aberdeen-based Deo Petroleum, taking its holding from 7.17 per cent to 10.04 per cent.
Shares in Aim-quoted Deo, which came to the market last year, were flat at 61.5p. BlueGold declined to comment.