FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: Miners on the rise

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A second day of positive news from China helped convince traders that the powerhouse economy is regaining momentum and helped the FTSE add almost 1 per cent.

David Madden, market analyst at IG, said: “Natural resource stocks are back in favour as China’s second wind could lead to an increased appetite for metals.”

Miners, which have been on the ropes lately amid fears of a sharp Chinese slowdown, monopolised the blue chip risers’ board, with Fresnillo up 8 per cent at 1,035p and Antofagasta adding 7.5 per cent at 942p. The FTSE 100 Index climbed 53.71 points to close at 6,583.39.

Banking stocks were also in the black as a combination of short covering and bargain-hunting kicked in following the recent reporting season. Royal Bank of Scotland added 2.7p at 325.6p and Lloyds advanced 1.09p to 75.11p.

But some of the sectors that had performed best earlier in the week were on the back foot as investors locked in some profits ahead of the weekend.

Retailers had been buoyed by solid shop sales figures on Tuesday and a raft of positive news for the wider UK economy. But Marks and Spencer and Next both slipped back from multi-month highs. M&S was down 2 per cent at 476.4p, while next retreated 1.3 per cent to 4,934p.

Some of the insurers were also heading in the same direction, with Legal & General back 1.5p at 196.8p and Old Mutual recovering from bigger losses earlier in the session to close 0.7p lower at 202.3p.

But there was no reversal for Standard Life, which continued to be punished for disappointing results amid peers that beat City expectations. It was propping up the FTSE 100 with a further 3.3 per cent fall, down 12.5p to 365p.